Giveaway and Fun Stuff for Henning Books 1 and 2

Tanked up on tea, a nice, warm cat curled up on my lap, and here I am. BTW, did I mention that Guardians of the Galaxy is now available on streaming for purchase? I scream, I squee, I dance, I fucking BUY.

Anyway…

First up, giveaway! Head on over to The Novel Approach and toss your name into the hat. There’s an excerpt there, some fun pics I dug up that work with the story, and you get a chance to win both books one and two. :) Deadline will be November 23 (Sunday), and good luck!

Secondly, a review! Here’s a nice little review by Lisa over at TNA for Henning (Book 1): The Hunted Prince.

With humor and originality, warmth and understanding, and the promise of a fairy tale romance to come, Hayden Thorne introduces a world we’re only just getting a glimpse of. There’s magic and mystery and mayhem, action and adventure planted with the seeds of young love between the covers of this book, making it a fantasy for a teen audience that us grownups can love too. Read more

I’ll be updating my Contemporary Fiction page with it later today.

New Release: Henning (Book 2): Prince of Wintergrave

And the second and final book of my Henning mini-series is out. :) You know, I still feel weird calling this a series since it’s technically one long book that’d been divided into two volumes. At any rate, here’s the blurb:

Being a prince in a past life yields no benefits in the present, Henning has quickly learned. His concerned housemates have made themselves his official, overbearing chaperones, Ellery appears to despise him, and Henning’s limited movements slowly wear down his nerves. With his awakening process turning out to be more of a zombie-like stagger, the stakes rise inevitably as undead attacks not only increase in frequency, but also in danger levels.

Henning finds some relief in the company of Alan Scott — a handsome, smart young man he meets in a store, who displays an earnest interest in Henning. He gradually tears Henning’s heartbroken attention away from Ellery, offering him promises of happiness as can only be defined in a boy’s first love.

In the meantime, danger now spills over to threaten innocent civilians as they get dragged into monster attacks, making it difficult for Henning and his companions to fight back while raising troubling questions about the walls between worlds being torn down by dark magic. It also reveals the effect of a soul bond on Henning and Ellery’s awakening — that is, each boy’s awakening is affected by the other, and the mystery of how and why only get muddier.

As Henning and his companions scramble for answers, it’s a mad race against time when things happen that make them suspect Varian of crossing over to their world, searching for Henning.

You can go here to the book page over at JMS Books, LLC for the excerpt. The e-book is currently marked down as a new release, and it’ll be 20% off for a week.

Giveaway coming up: Over at The Novel Approach, I’ll be doing an e-book giveaway for both books one and two. The winner of my previous giveaway will be receiving his copy of book two this week since he already has the first. Keep an eye out – I’ll be alerting you all when the time comes. :)

And, yep, there’s a battle at the end of this book in case you’re wondering. Henning (Book 2): Prince of Wintergrave also marks the last book release (new or 2nd edition) I’ll be having for this year. I purposefully kept December open for a few important reasons:

1. I’m digging in and working on new titles for the new year, principally for March and maybe April (January and February are already officially booked).

2. I’ll be putting in extra hours at work because of the holidays.

3. I need to get my head straight to prepare myself for the exciting and terrifying life change that takes effect on January 1st.

Truth be told, having already set up a 2015 calendar for myself, I’m making December a permanently open month as far as releases go. I know I’ll need that extra month to give myself as much momentum as possible with my books going into the new year.

My Life in the Next Five Years: the Spandex Edition

So a couple of weeks ago, Marvel unveiled Phase Three, which looks like this:

Marvel Phase 3 (click to enlarge)

Add that to the pile already started by other studios (Sony, Fox, WB/DC), and we have this:

Superhero Movies (click to enlarge)

Christ, that looks like my planned publishing schedule for the next two years.

Well, that’s a doozy. I know I’ve referred to superhero fatigue in a past post, but you know what? Screw that. Life’s too short to bitch. Now that I’m getting a great view of how all this works out, I’m pretty excited over the prospects. Lots of films to lose yourself in if you’re like me – a superhero film nut – and you get to choose your poison.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while now, you know I have a pretty strong bias in favor of Marvel. They’ve earned my trust enough to guarantee them my wallet and my butt in theaters, regardless of what movie it is. I’m not an X-Men fan, and I never got into Spider Man. I’m grieving over the Fantastic Four film as I was really looking forward to its reboot. But it’s like every time someone from the cast talks about it, the movie sinks lower and lower in fans’ view, especially since the people behind this film are all determined to make this as un-superhero-like as possible.

I’m still waiting to see how DC’s new cinematic universe pans out. The superhero team up films – at least Batman v. Superman – are a definite no go. I’m still looking anxiously at the stand alone titles, crossing my fingers for them and hoping like hell that WB execs won’t screw things up. Well, not too much, anyway.

And speaking of superhero stuff, Malinda Lo posted a list of LGBT Young Adult books that aren’t all about gay angst:

Last week when I visited a high school in Seattle, a student asked me for recommendations of YA books about gay boys who didn’t have to struggle with a lot of coming-out angst. While coming out can certainly be a struggle (mine was!), I completely understand and sympathize with those who want to read books about gay main characters where they can simply be the main characters without facing a ton of homophobia. For a gay reader especially, encountering a large amount of homophobia in a novel might feel realistic and it might make them feel less alone in the world, but it can also feel like an assault on your own identity.  Read more

And my Masks series is one of them. :) When I started writing books for gay teens, I was a lot more interested in writing them as heroes of whatever stories I wanted to tell. Their sexuality has very little to do with how their adventures unfold unless I’m writing a coming-out novel, which I always – always – write into a fantasy story (The Twilight Gods, Grave’s End, Benedict, The Weeping Willow, and some of the short stories in The Winter Garden and Other Stories).

Because why not? Why should teen issues be limited to contemporary realistic high school stories? I’ve always been preaching this, that if I wanted to make these kids feel good about themselves, I’m going to write them into as many different genres as I can in very much the same way that straight kids see themselves in historical, contemporary, sci-fi, and fantasy books that are being churned out by every publisher out there, big and small. It’s my way of reassuring them how normal and complicated they are – that they aren’t defined by only their sexual orientation – just like their straight counterparts.

And as a last note, I finally got myself a copy of The Shadow Hero, which is now on its way to me and my grubby little hands:

In the comics boom of the 1940s, a  legend was born: the Green Turtle. He solved crimes and fought injustice just like the other comics characters. But this mysterious masked crusader was hiding something more than your run-of-the-mill secret identity… The Green Turtle was the first Asian American super hero.

The comic had a short run before lapsing into obscurity, but the acclaimed author of American Born Chinese, Gene Luen Yang, has finally revived this character in Shadow Hero, a new graphic novel that creates an origin story for the Green Turtle.

With artwork by Sonny Liew, this gorgeous, funny comics adventure for teens is a new spin on the long, rich tradition of American comics lore.

It’ll be my first ever comic book. XD I never got into comic books back in the day unless we’re looking at Creepy, Eerie, and Vampirella, and those were rare indulgences that were dependent on my dad’s largesse. One of my co-workers brought in his copy of Thor #1, which I read during my lunch break, but I want my own collection, know what I mean? Here’s to hoping that we get more non-white and/or non-heteronormative superheroes in comic books. Those are the kinds I’d like to buy.

So Many Pies, Not Enough Fingers

The waters continue to churn hereabouts. Just when I thought I’ve finally laid (part of) the groundwork for a realistic hybrid author publishing career, something drew my attention to the fact that, hey, this might not be a good idea, after all. The biggest issue I have involves writing for a completely different market that’s already – and I mean already – saturated, i.e., the mainstream (or non-LGBT) genre market. Essentially, starting over with a new pen name in an untested market (for me, at least).

The self-publishing scene isn’t in its infancy anymore. According to reports I recently read, it’s matured a little (naturally and understandably), with the crazy boom of four or five years ago finally settling down. Many writers have vanished, and many have found their bearings. But with the doors thrown wide open, the book world is now getting probably a couple of hundred new books per day. So, yeah, discoverability’s now an even bigger issue than it was back in the heady days of Amanda Hocking and company, and diving into those waters now – as a newbie and yet not – isn’t a very good idea for what I want.

I recently went back-and-forth with my publisher regarding my release schedule next year. Since I was already planning out the next installment of my then-side project, I also saw that the LGBT subplot – because it was a catalyst of the main character’s misadventures – needed to take over.

In the end, with the help of my publisher and quite a bit of tweaking with my calendar, I decided to unpublish my side project, rewrite the hell out of it – expanding several scenes and adding a new chapter in addition to completely changing the main character’s gender and orientation – revise it some more, and then submit it to JMS Books as a New Adult novella that’s LGBT. The upshot of all this is that I can’t afford to start over as an unknown in the mainstream publishing scene (and not a romance writer, at that), in a new market that’s already experiencing a crazy number of book releases.

I’ve been publishing under my Hayden Thorne pen name since 2008, and I’ve already established myself as writer of LGBT genre fiction. In the end I figured it’d benefit me more if I were to stick to that and pursue it aggressively, hopefully finding new readers who’re more interested in adult fiction than YA while also introducing my current readers to my more adult stuff in a niche that they’ve always liked and supported. I’ll still be writing YA, of course. It remains my bread-and-butter kind of thing, but it’ll be complemented by my adult genre books, and at least starting January, I’ll have all the time to come after whatever goals I’ve set for myself.

I’d share next year’s full release schedule with you, but seeing as how I’ve only got three books already set so far, I’ll give you a heads up on what’s pretty much a done deal: January (The Twilight Gods), February (New Adult sci-fi novella), and March (Ansel of Pryor House). It’s a heavy schedule, but I’ll make it work because I’m determined to make it work. Besides, they’re all doable: two are novellas, and one’s a 2nd edition re-release. That said, it’s do or die time. No screwing around in this dusty corner of the web.

I feel so hardcore now.

Happy Halloween!

“Fall of the House of Usher” by Robert Lawson

“Not hear it? — yes, I hear it, and have heard it. Long — long — long — many minutes, many hours, many days, have I heard it — yet I dared not — oh, pity me, miserable wretch that I am! — I dared not — I dared not speak! We have put her living in the tomb! Said I not that my senses were acute? I now tell you that I heard her first feeble movements in the hollow coffin. I heard them — many, many days ago — yet I dared not — I dared not speak! And now — to-night — Ethelred — ha! ha! — the breaking of the hermit’s door, and the death-cry of the dragon, and the clangour of the shield! — say, rather, the rending of her coffin, and the grating of the iron hinges of her prison, and her struggles within the coppered archway of the vault! Oh whither shall I fly? Will she not be here anon? Is she not hurrying to upbraid me for my haste? Have I not heard her footstep on the stair? Do I not distinguish that heavy and horrible beating of her heart? Madman!” — here he sprang furiously to his feet, and shrieked out his syllables, as if in the effort he were giving up his soul — “Madman! I tell you that she now stands without the door!”

- from “Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe