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Wildfire Gets 5-Star Review – Readers’ Favorite

“THE suspense romance to read if you’re looking for something fresh and exciting.” – Tammy Ruggles, Readers’ Favorite (5 Stars)

I thoroughly enjoyed writing this book, and it brings me great pleasure to know others enjoy reading it. I hope if you take a chance on this, you’ll let me know what you think!

Tammy’s review continued:

“…Orion and Matt are characters you can fall in love with–rich, full human beings with pasts, secrets, flaws, and issues. And these characters are perfect for the plot lines that Strife has dropped them into. Just when Orion is getting back on her feet from a past she’d rather put behind her, and with the help of new romantic interest Matt, a small but deadly piece of metal shows up in her pocket, and this sets the stage for her nightmare to start all over again. Throw this scenario in with the mix of Montana mystery, and you have the makings of a Lifetime movie or Hallmark, as it’s a bit of a holiday story as well. It isn’t a book that gives the story away all at once. You have to keep reading. And it is lightly faith-based, which works well with the holiday theme. Bonus material appears at the end, so that’s a real treat for fans of this author.

The plot alone is enough to keep you invested in the story but the characters are what stand out even more. They are realistic, they bounce well off one another, and when Strife uses them to tell her heart-pounding story, things heat up quickly in all areas. This could be just any other romance thriller, but it isn’t. It’s one of the best ones, thanks to the author’s great laser-point attention to detail, visceral descriptions, and punchy dialogue. It all works together perfectly, and this is just what you want in a story that draws you in and keeps you there–and then has you wanting more. Romantic suspense is an often underappreciated genre, but Wildfire (Embers on Ice Book 2) by Elysia Lumen Strife elevates it to the next level of entertainment.”

Get Wildfire on Amazon
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Publishes July 18th
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Writer's Blog

Book Publishing Secrets

This is a post I wrote for one of my book tours, but I wanted to share it with you again in case any of you might be looking for some tips! The book I reference is listed below. You can view the original post here: Book Publishing Secrets

A romantic-suspense novel featuring: miscarriage, hot co-workers, cybersecurity threats, and the struggle of defining family.
With only an abusive mother-figure to guide her, Norah has learned everything the hard way. An unexpected pregnancy with her fiancé changed her career plans. But miscarriage and betrayal thrust everything in reverse again. Eerie things start happening at work, and Norah finds herself at the center of the investigation.
Secrets tumble forth from Norah’s father, her ex-fiancé, and the mystery around her adoption, breaking the walls she’s put up to protect her heart. Now, more than ever, she longs for trust, love, and a family of her own.
Bonding with her handsome co-worker, Evan, and his teenage daughter, Ashley, Norah gets a glimpse of cohesive family life. She finds herself falling for Evan and becoming an unlikely source of help and understanding for Ashley. Evan and Ashley have an empty seat at their table, one Norah wishes to fill. Yet the guilt of taking the previous woman’s place threatens to keep them apart.
Can Norah overcome the scars of her past and discover her inner strength? And will the private letter from her father answer her questions or destroy the family, and the man, she’s come to love?
ORDER YOUR COPY Amazon → https://amzn.to/2wYVKLh 
Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
I didn’t set out on this journey thinking, “I want to be an author.” I just had stories I wanted to share with others. A Promise in Ash was prompted by the feeling of emptiness and failure I experienced after a miscarriage. It developed into a full story after an interesting encounter with a woman as one of the RV parks we’ve stayed at over the years. Her tales inspired the book to become what it is today. I think it’s important to talk about miscarriage and abuse. The more we do, the less uncomfortable the topics become. I just felt like fiction was a gentler way to go about this than self-help.
Is this your first book?
No, this is my 5th book. I’ve also written three sci-fi fantasies and one holiday romance.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
I’m a self-publisher by nature. I love learning how to do things, so it just seemed like the right fit: doing everything myself. But I also chose self-publishing because I didn’t think I was ready for querying, traditional agents, and contracts. It sounded more serious than I was prepared to dive into. I wanted to figure the system out before I put time and effort into queries.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
My first book was pretty rough the first time around. I’ve edited it a few times since and changed the cover. I’m finally happy with it, but it took a while. But lack of sales came down to a lack of marketing platform and knowledge of marketing in the beginning. I’m much better at it now, but it’s still hard to compete with the pros.
I still like having total creative control. I design my covers too. This can be detrimental in the beginning when you have no idea what you’re doing. I know I’ve learned a lot, but sometimes I still feel like I’m just “winging it.” Eventually, you learn to trust your training and instincts, and then move on when a project is done. Getting bad reviews sucks. But even super famous books have them. So I figure if I get just a few great reviews, the book was a success.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
There is a lot of competition. There will always be the top 100 books to read for the year. But I’ve read some fantastic books by indie authors with less than ten reviews. They’re great writers, but they aren’t included in the top 100 because of lack of discoverability. Indie publishing is great, but it’s led to market saturation. If you want to get readers’ eyes on your books, you have to advertise.
Traditional publishing is getting more competitive. It’s not just enough now to have a superb query letter and a polished manuscript. You have to have a social media following. Yep. I’ve seen people rejected for that very thing. A marketing platform is everything.
I didn’t understand how to narrow down my audience in the beginning. I’m still working on it. But it’s not enough to search for readers in your genre. You have to focus on the subgenre and key interests. I’m finding this issue is surfacing again with my romance. I have a holiday romance and a dark contemporary romance, which I list as romantic suspense because there’s yet to be a subgenre for that. But readers of one book won’t like the other. The themes and content are too different. It’s frustrating to start over with a readership, but it’s important to acknowledge and respect how very particular some readers are.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Sure. I think it’s great to be able to say that you’re an author and have a physical copy of something to show others. People need to share their stories, whether true or fictional. With as much competition as there is now for traditional slots, I think indie authorship is a great alternative. Everybody has a story to tell, even if it’s just their memoir. When we share our ideas and concepts, we discover things about each other and humanity.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Be realistic, which I know is hard when you’re not really sure what you’re getting yourself into. Hopes and prayers aren’t enough to get your book done and seen. You have to be prepared to do a lot of work. Writing is hard. Editing is harder. Formatting is cake. The cover is the frosting; make it look darn pretty. Publishing is eating cake. Marketing is the hardest.
You need a marketing plan before you publish. You need an author brand, at least in concept. You need to know who will support you, what the genre expectations are, and how to avoid all the amateur mistakes.
You need to have conviction. Writing will only be one tiny facet of the business if you choose to become a full-time author. You’re going to spend a lot of money on ads and websites and programs—tons of stuff. Save your receipts. You won’t make a lot the first few years until you start to figure the system out. Don’t quit your day job if you can help it.
Remember why you started writing. Remind yourself of this every day, so you don’t get discouraged. There are going to be chunks of time with no sales. You’re going to get bad reviews. Every author, even famous ones, get them. Don’t pull your book down. Don’t quit writing. You’re going to get better, but only if you don’t give up.
Thanks for having me!
Best wishes!
-Elysia

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Book Publishing Secrets with Elysia Strife @elysialstrife #books #bookpublishing

Elysia Strife is a self-published author of science-fiction fantasy and romance novels.
Adopted by two educators, Strife developed a deep love for learning new things. In 2012, she graduated from Oregon State University with two Bachelor’s Degrees in Public Health and Human Sciences: Interior Design and Exercise Sport Science. Her past wears fatigues, suits, and fitness gear, sprinkled with mascara and lace.
“I like to question everything, figure out how things work, and do tasks myself. Experiencing new things is fun but also helps with writing raw and genuine stories. And I’m always trying to push my comfort zones.”
Strife likes the rumble of her project car’s 350-ci V8. She enjoys the rush of snowboarding and riding ATVs on the dunes. But nothing brings her more solace than camping in the mountains where the stars are their brightest.
Strife enjoys connecting with readers and welcomes all feedback and questions.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

Website: elstrife.com
Blog

Reblog: Interview with The Writers Life eMagazine

I had a great time and am grateful for being included in their ezine!

You can find the original interview here:

https://thewriterslife.blogspot.com/2019/12/stellar-fusion-author-q-with-el-strife.html

Today’s guest is scifi fantasy author E.L. Strife. Her new book is Stellar Fusion (Infinite )Spark Book 1 and she is on a virtual book tour this month with Pump Up Your Book! We’re very glad to have her here today to talk about her book, writing and what surprised her about getting her book published.

 

Welcome to The Writer’s Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  When did you come up with the idea to write your book?

I appreciate you having me today!

Stellar Fusion, my first novel, is a blend of science fiction and fantasy with militaristic and agricultural elements. I have fond memories of watching Star Trek with my father and spending time on my mother’s family farm. I combined those experiences with my military and adoption background into this futuristic story of Earth with, of course, a magical twist.

Stellar Fusion originally started as a dream-journal entry in the summer of 2012. I’d just been married, and my husband was sick with a mysterious, chronic illness. We had no money. It was just nice to have something that felt powerful when our lives seemed like a constant struggle to make ends meet. I started writing because I didn’t want to lose that spark of hope.

It took about two years to develop the story into a full manuscript. It was my first time tackling the idea of writing a book. I had a full-time job, so I wrote in the evenings and on the weekends.

In the three years that followed, I studied writing craft and revised my book before sending it off to a freelance editor for professional feedback. It might as well have come back on red paper! But I learned a lot and built on my knowledge with local classes and seminars. Now the Infinite Spark series has three books with a fourth in progress!

Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

I self-published Stellar Fusion for the first time in 2017. Back then, I was an easily-embarrassed and shy writer. Self-publishing was a way for me to experience the entire process while studying the market from a safe distance. I have since fine-tuned my writing, publication, and marketing strategies, but I am glad for the bumps and bruises along the way. I love learning new things, and self-publishing comes with a hefty workload.

Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

I was terrified the first time I hit publish. Then nothing happened. I had mixed feelings of fear that I’d screwed something up during the publication process and disappointment that my work wasn’t interesting enough to entice readers to buy. I didn’t know how critical having a marketing platform and street team was to the launch of a book.

Do you believe a book cover plays an important role in the selling process?

The cover image, in my mind, is the most important piece in advertising a book. It displays the genre of the story when it’s not always readily listed, particularly online. If you want to catch the attention of readers of a specific genre, you want to ensure the cover reflects the trends of that genre. A great cover will hint at the main predicament or plot as well as create tension before readers even start the book.

The packaging of a book needs to represent what’s inside. It’s frustrating when the main character featured on the front doesn’t look like the character described in the book. It makes me wonder who I’m looking at. Even more, the quality of the cover images and arrangement is critical. I won’t talk about titles. But if your images are pixellated, not blended well, or the arrangement isn’t balanced, then the cover won’t catch the readers’ eyes. It needs to grab their attention to make them stop. If they don’t stop, then your title, blurb, and content won’t matter.

Just remember, the cover is a symbol of your book. If it’s shoddy work, readers will expect the same inside. Conversely, don’t have an expensive cover then skimp on edits. Do your hard work justice with great packaging.

How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

I chose a heck of a book to start with. Stellar Fusion features multiple alien cultures and languages, a villainous galactic empire, planetary invasions, an organization of soldiers with hard-and-fast rules, a dying Earth, and a main character who can’t remember the first fifteen years of her life. I had to manage all of that while learning about editing, formatting, cover design, publication, and marketing. It was far more difficult than I anticipated.

I have noticed certain genres are easier to write than others. A lot of it depends on the complexity of the story. But, in general, I find writing romance and women’s fiction far easier than science fiction and fantasy. It’s mostly due to the technical detail and explanations of things that must occur in the latter genres. I’ve written a romance in a month, whereas a science fiction novel might take four to six.

Tips for other writers (from my experience):

Twitter is a great place to connect with other writers, whether through critique swaps, writing prompts, querying events, or the general community.

Join a writers’ organization where you can take online classes or go to interactive sessions and network with others. The more you can educate yourself on the processes of writing and publishing, the better. And having a friend who understands the stress of the process is important. We all need a shoulder to cry on sometimes.

Build a website before you publish your books. You can link social media accounts and email subscriptions to one place and begin to build your launch team/street team. This way, you can share your big news with tons of followers on publication day and start with a bang!

Give away Advanced Review Copies of your book, so when you publish, you can get a few ratings posted early-on. This will encourage more people to buy when they visit your book’s page.

But I think the most important thing is to get comfortable with critiques and critical feedback from authors and editors. Don’t let the suggestions or edits get under your skin. Fix what needs fixing and move forward. It’s not worth getting upset over. You’re going to need that energy for plenty of other tasks.

What other books are you working on and when will they be published?

I just completed and published Shadows of the Son, the third book in the Infinite Spark series. Redshift, book four, is under construction and will publish sometime in 2020. A Promise in Ash, a stand-alone romantic suspense novel, is keeping me busy with final edits. Wildfire, book two of the holiday romance series Embers on Ice, is next in line.

What’s one fact about your book that would surprise people?

I didn’t want to write it.

I swore off creative writing and dream-journaling after a few bad experiences as a child. My entire life, I’ve been a lucid dreamer. I didn’t want to write my dream down. But I’ve never felt such a compulsion to do anything in my life. I pushed aside my fears to hang on to that spark of hope.

I find dreams intriguing, and you’ll see that it’s a large focus in the series. The characters often experience different stages of consciousness and even dip into a separate realm I named Ether.

As I caved and studied more of the writing craft, I began to control the dream-child better, hone it into a story instead of a compilation of nocturnal delusions. The process took time, but I finished it and moved on to book two, Requiem, and now, Shadows of the Son.

Finally, what message are you trying to get across with your book?

Stellar Fusion carries two main messages:

First, we all have common vulnerabilities: pain (physical/mental/emotional) and mortality. When we remember these, no matter who we are or what we believe, we can always find common ground.

Second, family does not have to be defined by blood. It can be built with trust and time together.

The messages in Stellar Fusion are channeled through members of the Universal Protectors. They are orphans from the Three Hundred Year War on Earth. They serve and protect the remaining people of Earth regardless of race, religion, gender, orientation, age, capability, species, or zone of residence. They judge only based on actions that threaten our common vulnerabilities.

 

Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

Thank you for taking the time to read about my experiences as a writer and a self-published author. I hope you’ll check out my books! I’m always happy to network with anyone interested, even if you only have a question about the process. If you subscribe to my email list, you’ll always get free access to my new releases before they publish! (I only email about the free stuff. I’m swamped with messages too.) You can find me at elstrife.com and primarily on Twitter @ ElysiaLStrife.

Best wishes!

-Elysia-

Meet the Author

Adopted by two educators, Strife developed a deep love for learning new things. In 2012, she graduated from Oregon State University with two Bachelor’s Degrees in Public Health and Human Sciences: Interior Design and Exercise Sport Science. Her past wears fatigues, suits, and fitness gear, sprinkled with mascara and lace.

“I like to question everything, figure out how things work, and do tasks myself. Experiencing new things is fun but also helps with writing raw and genuine stories. And I’m always trying to push my comfort zones.”

Strife likes the rumble of her project car’s 350-ci V8. She enjoys the rush of snowboarding and riding ATVs on the dunes. But nothing brings her more solace than camping in the mountains where the stars are their brightest.

Strife enjoys connecting with readers and welcomes all feedback and questions.

website & Social Links

Website  → www.elstrife.com

Twitter  → http://twitter.com/ElysiaLStrife

Facebook  http://www.facebook.comauthorelstrife

Blog, Book Reviews

Book Review: Shattered Glass by Skip Schmidt

Five Stars

On Amazon

An extraordinary blend of historical and science fiction…

Schmidt’s work delves into past and present day Germany with vivid descriptions and deeply woven political plots. Shattered Glass is full of unexpected twists and suspense that will keep you turning every page. Anyone that enjoys time travel and mysteries, will find this entertaining.

A dive into the Einstein-Rosen bridge theory, Shattered Glass introduces us to two time frames, 1938 Nazi-Germany and the year 2013. We follow Lieutenant Eugen Scheele in the past as he tries to uncover the truth about Captain Kreider’s disappearance, whilst his great-nephew, Inspector Willi Scheele, must ascertain the appearance of Kreider in near present day.

Shattered Glass is a trip back inside the world of Nazi-Germany and the struggle of all who suffered from and were opposed to their reign. The stakes are high with lives hanging on Eugen’s and Willi’s next moves. But anything can happen in war.

Schmidt spares no detail. It is a thrilling ride with murder investigations, dark humor, sex, and constant edge-of-your-seat political tension.

You won’t expect what happens at the end.

Schmidt’s written voice can be enjoyed by the average reader and appreciated by those who like a more… perspicacious approach. Shattered Glass is not a fast or disposable read. It is something you want to sit down and absorb. The characters are genuine—their actions unpredictable and their emotions and relationships as organic as any in real life.

I recommend this work to those who are fans of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series.

Looking forward to reading more of his work in the future.

Amazon

Goodreads

Blog, Book Reviews

Book Review: The Teleporter By Lee Hall

Book Review: The Teleporter By Lee Hall (4 Stars)

A humorously crass story of a drunkard turned superhero.

Hall has created a realistic world in which corporations hold the power and the common man has little control over his own life, until fate elects a portion and hands it over in the form of teleportation karma. The transformation of our main character, Kurt, is depicted with a perfect amount of stumbles, physical and emotional, and leaves us rooting for him as he finds his new place in society.

The voice isn’t hindered by formalities; it is free and true to character and, yes, littered with curses. But it fits so perfectly with Kurt’s sarcastic/apathetic personality that it is hard to be bothered by it.

The story picks up quickly and doesn’t linger too long in any one scene. Hall has done a great job at keeping a smooth pace and throwing in just enough detail to encourage us to continue reading without bogging us down. If you’re not used to reading an Irish accent, give it a chapter or two.

The Teleporter was a fun ride that I would recommend to anyone that enjoys shorter scifi stories involving average-joe superheros, technology, and characters that simultaneously banter and care.

Summary (Spoiler Alert!):

The beginning might throw you for a loop because it sounds a lot like the author is breaking the fourth wall. That’s how genuine the voice of our main character, Kurt, is. And he is a complete drunk, a jerk, and is funny as hell. With a love life and a job that are both dead-ends, Kurt relies on booze and his imagination for entertainment. But like all superheroes, Kurt has an endearing quality. Beneath all the swears and drink, he has a conscience and doesn’t truly want anyone to get hurt. He just doesn’t know anything different.

Kurt works for a company called Liqui-tech as essentially their social media marketer/outreach guy. During a planned media event, Kurt runs into his next-door neighbor, Casey. As a journalist, she’s a skeptic and can’t believe their company’s teleportation project doesn’t produce any toxic waste. When Kurt is assigned media coverage for that specific project, Casey’s words get to him. He finds himself soon doing his own recon and, inevitably, succumbing to a vat of the liquid… and scrambling out of the opposite tank.

After sleeping for several days, Kurt awakens to discover he can teleport around his house just by thinking about the refrigerator etc. Learning to teleport and keep his clothes on is a trick he has to learn the hard way. And, ironically, his beloved alcohol is his kryptonite. This made the character’s struggle much more complicated. He can no longer rely on his usual “out” and must learn to cope with his new life on his own. In his jubilee over becoming a superhero, he goes out and makes a big deal about being a superhero in front of a bar full of people. But his efforts in protecting a girl—who’d had her drink spiked—prove he is worthy of said powers.

Teaming up with Casey across the hall, they return to Liqui-tech to search for evidence they can use to hold Mr. Williams, the owner, accountable for. His family owns most of the town, and they disrespect most of the people they come into contact with. Casey and Kurt are caught and put through their own interrogation. Kurt is beaten and thrown out, which brings him new perspective on the divide between upper and lower classes. Emotional over the matter, Kurt returns to his favorite bar and basically tells everyone the teleporter thing was a stunt and they should all go home instead of spending the night out drinking. As mentioned before, Kurt has a heart, though sometimes it can seem buried.

On a walk, Kurt meets two old men, one of which he defends from Mr. William’s entitled brat-of-a-son and takes quite a beating for it. The other who offers Kurt some wisdom on the matter of his skill set. Feeling empowered again, Kurt records a video threat to Mr. Williams and begins practicing his teleporting skills for means of hand-to-hand combat.

A group of his closest companions gather around him demanding it is time for some action because Casey has been taken. They end up infiltrating Liqui-tech with literally no plan. Finding Casey is the next experiment and that Mr. Williams as created teleportation biotech for himself, the crew is thrown into a frenzied series of attacks and defenses ultimately ending in the testing facility. There, Casey is subjected to the teleportation tanks plus a car battery. When she emerges again from the muck as Kurt holds her, she is shot twice… and uncovers her own ability. She’s bulletproof.

Kurt’s former supervisor (before being fired from Liqui-tech), Marcus, ends up being a member of the FBI and has recorded everything. William’s is taken away, and Marcus therein becomes the mentor/guide to Kurt and Casey.

Personal Thoughts:

This book was hilarious, though I’m not usually a laugh-out-loud type. I’m more of the chuckle type. The emotional range didn’t include major moments of anger (which I think would’ve completed the spectrum), but this made for an easier, laid-back type of read.

It was entertaining to find a book about a realistic man that had something supernatural happen to him. We all want to feel like there is this possibility, this hope, that some miracle will pull us out of the muck of everyday life, and we’ll be able to finally change the world. All too often superheroes are from rich families or royalty or gods. Kurt is an unlikely option in our stereotypical world. But here, we get to see him in action. Hope and humor thrive together in The Teleporter.

The Teleporter on Amazon

Goodreads

https://leehallwriter.com/