Tuesday, July 10, 2018

SALE!


The first four books in the Ærenden series are on SALE! There's never been a better time to join the adventure.

The Child Returns (Book 1) is FREE today (July 10) through July 14. Find TCR here.

The Gildonae Alliance (Book 2) and The Zeiihbu Master (Book 3) are each 99c starting at 11am PST today through July 17. Find TGA here and TZM here.

The Reaper Rises (Book 4) will be 1.99 starting at 11am PST today through July 17. Find TRR here.

The Shadow Guard (Book 5) will not be on sale, but with this special, you can pick up the entire set of 5 books for $7.96. That's roughly $1.60 per book! Find TSG here.

These specials are on Amazon Kindle books only.

And please remember to leave reviews on Amazon when you've finished reading. The more reviews a book has, the more Amazon's algorithm recommends it.

Thanks and Happy Reading!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

42 Acts of Kindness



Someone once gave me the advice that social media should never be a place of full honesty. Authors should engage with their audience, be approachable, but not expose their rough edges for fear of alienating readers.

Ultimately, everyone wants to be entertained, to forget about the world and its trials, and not be reminded of them by their favorite artists.

Whether it's good advice is questionable, but as depression has garnered more of the spotlight lately, and too many great artists are losing their fights to suicide, I find I can't maintain a happy-above-all persona with much grace.

Depression has long talons. Its grip digs and shreds. It drapes a veil across our eyes, casting the world in shadows. It sits on our shoulders as a chattering demon, drowning out the voices of those who care.

And when we refuse to acknowledge it, to speak of it because it might diminish others' opinions of us, we amplify its chattering.

Yes, we get help. Yes, we take medicine. But there are no magic therapists or special pills. For some of us, it's the way our brains are wired, and the fight is lifelong.

My first demon started whispering in my ear when I was 8. My first suicide attempt was shortly before my 11th birthday.

Some days are crystal clear, filled with rainbows and bird songs. But others are wrapped in storm clouds. I'm a fighter, and I'll keep fighting until I have no energy left for it. We all have struggles, and we all are stronger when we band together, when we lean on each other, when we have others who help us navigate the darkness.

I don't mention this now because I feel like vomiting dialogue, but because I have a purpose, and I need your help to fulfill it. The past few months have been dark again. Some of it's because of personal and family reasons, disappointments and diagnoses that have been hard to process. Some is because of politics--the constant news cycle of grief and violence and the resurgence of acceptable selfishness, racism, prejudice, and bigotry. And some is my depression not allowing me to see much light.

I can only fully control the latter.

I want to do more than just see the light. I want to BE it, even if I am only a tiny candle. I want to step outside the shadows and cast brightness into the world so that maybe others will see hope in the darkness.

To do this, I've decided to perform 42 random acts of kindness.

42, because on August 10, that will be my age. Every day until then, starting June 30, I'll perform one random act of kindness every day and post it on Twitter and a dedicated group page on Facebook. I'm asking everyone to help me by casting their lights into the world so our tiny candles can collectively make a beacon. I will NOT be posting my efforts here or on my Facebook author page. This isn't about my books or my writing, and I want to keep it that way. I want people to feel welcome to join in even if they aren't interested in reading the Ærenden series or following me in any form.

I just want these 42 days to make a difference.

So, here goes... find the official 42 Random Acts of Kindness group page here https://www.facebook.com/groups/202862097088504 and post your acts of kindness so others may be encouraged to do so. If you can only do one or a dozen, great. If you can do all 42, fantastic. Anything and everything matters.

Likewise (or if you're more comfortable, instead of), post on Twitter and/or Instagram using the hashtag #42RandomActsOfKindness.

Thank you for letting me speak.


Monday, March 26, 2018

Launch Party Co-Hosts Introduced!

If you missed the announcement for The Shadow Guard's Release and Launch Party, you can find it here.

Release day for the much-anticipated final book in the Aerenden series is TOMORROW, March 27, but this day isn't all about me, or Nick, Caide, and Meaghan. It's about having a good time with fellow readers, enjoying each other's company, and making new friends.

Some of the new friends I'd like to introduce you to are fellow authors. Each one will be co-hosting the party for an hour, introducing you to their writing, and giving away (yet even more) prizes. Be sure to check them out at the times below. All times are Eastern.

3:00 PM - Alexandra Penn
A fellow DC-Author, now transplanted to Iowa, Alexandra Penn writes fantasies that are influenced by her childhood adventures in the Smithsonian museums. Her current sci-fi/fantasy, about a 14-year-old who chooses to enroll in a Lunar University exchange program despite the risks, can be found as a serial on Patreon, in print on Barnes & Noble's website, and through her own website. Alex also serves as Director at The Writers' Rooms (www.thewritersrooms.org), an organization that aims to foster community-based knowledge and support for writers by creating virtual rooms related to their genres for congretation.

You can learn more about her at www.alexandrapenn.com.


4:00 PM - Michael Koogler
Michael Koogler, a prolific author with 7 novels (plus 1 coming soon) and 2 anthologies available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, lives in Iowa with his wife and children. His highly regarded novels dip into science-fiction and cyber thrillers, as well as epic fantasy and apocalyptic adult genres.

You can find full descriptions and links for his books at https://www.michaelkoogler.net/books.


5:00 PM - Jenny Burke
Jenny Burke has earned numerous accolades and awards for her Dragon Dreamer Series, which she writes under the name J S Burke. These Amazon 5-star average YA sci-fi/fantasy adventures feature dragons and an undersea world, and they are rated for ages 9 and up. She also hand draws and publishes mandala coloring books and educational activity books for children, and she is a marine biologist in her spare time (as if she weren't impressive enough).

Read more about Jenny at http://www.jennysburke.com/.


8:00 PM - Erin Casey
Erin Casey, a Communications and Student Relationships Manager at Iowa Writers' House (http://www.iowawritershouse.org) and a Director at The Writers' Room, creates urban fantasies and literary lessons on Patreon. Her current urban fantasy novella is called The Purple Door District and follows the lives, dangers, and adventures of werewolves, fae, vampires, witches, and other supernatural creatures with new characters popping up in each monthly installment.

Check her out on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/erincasey and at https://www.wattpad.com/user/erincasey09.



Find them all at the Launch Party tomorrow on Facebook at  https://www.facebook.com/events/1451839758257912/

Thursday, March 8, 2018

The Shadow Guard is almost here!


The Shadow Guard, the final book in the Aerenden series, drops March 27. THIS MONTH! I am beyond excited and celebrating in a big way, hosting a party right up until release day and all day on the 27th.

Join the Launch Party on Facebook here to win prizes, meet new authors, and have fun with fellow readers. Prize giveaways take place all month long!

Amazon also has the kindle version of The Shadow Guard available for pre-order TODAY here. Pick up your copy now and it will be auto-delivered to your kindle on launch day.

I can't wait to share the final leg of this journey with you. Releasing this last book is bittersweet. I hate to say good-bye to my characters, but the adventure has been, well, epic :). I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I did.

Yours,
Kristen


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

FREE Kindle eBooks!

Today and tomorrow (Sept 13 & 14, 2017), Amazon is offering Books 1, 2, and 3 of the Aerenden series for FREE. Be sure to swing by and grab a copy! The 4th book is only $2.99, and the 5th and final book in the series is due in the spring. Don't miss out! Get your free kindle copies by following this link http://amzn.to/2h27bGD



Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Contest on Facebook (ends Sept 2)


Now through September 2nd, I'm running a contest on my Facebook page to win a kindle copy of an Ærenden book of your choice. It's an easy peasy entry (share your favorite literary quote), so head on over!

And don't worry if you already own all the books, you can gift the prize to a friend.

Not a fan on Facebook? Here's the link :).

Friday, August 25, 2017

Writing a Book: The Running Approach

Once, a long long time ago, I took up running. I had to lose weight, I'm antisocial(ish), and I love listening to music, so I thought "why not? It's a good fit." I printed (printed! ha! Okay, so now I'm dating myself) out a beginning runners calendar and hit the road.

And I got frustrated. It was hard. Really, super, intensely hard. I tried to do 30 seconds and couldn't. I tried to do 20 seconds. And I couldn't. I tried 15 seconds. That worked, so I stuck with it for a while. People passed me. I hated that. Grandmas passed me. Dads with strollers passed me as I tried not to die on my 15 second stretches (mixed with 2 minutes of walking).

For a time, I got so upset at my perceived failure that I almost gave up. For a time, I did give up. It wasn't for me, clearly. I wasn't any good at it. I wasn't improving fast enough.

But then something beautiful happened. I missed it when I gave it up, so I tried again. I focused on the music in my ears, and my breathing. I ignored the people passing me, and I started watching my own time, instead. 15 seconds turned into 30 seconds. 30 became 40. The next thing I realized, months had passed and I could now run 3 miles. I stopped huffing and puffing. I got faster, better. I enjoyed it. I learned to pass myself.

And then, and then...

I had kids. I was put on limited exercise throughout my pregnancies, and when I got back to running, I huffed and puffed again. I got passed. I couldn't run a mile without stopping.

I felt defeated. I got frustrated. It was hard. And I almost gave up. I hated moving backwards, losing the ground I fought so hard to cover. Nothing helped. Until I focused on one step again, one increment, one minute at a time. I'm not quite where I was pre-pregnancy, but that's not what I want anymore. I'm a different person, with different goals, and I want to run. So, I do.

Why am I mentioning this?

Because when I first started running, I wasn't just a "wanna be" runner. I was also a "wanna be" writer. I had a dozen ideas for books in my head, but I looked at a novel as one giant work that had to be accomplished in one giant leap. I didn't write, because I couldn't see the increments.

Then one day, as I started getting miles under my belt, I realized my writing journey could reflect my running journey. Instead of seeing the whole, finished book as my goal, I saw my characters. I started talking to them, having them tell me their stories. After that, I saw a single scene. I wrote that scene. Another followed it, then a chapter. A single chapter became 10, 10 became 20, and eventually I had a book.

It wasn't done, of course. The first draft is called a "draft" for a reason, but each edit chiseled more detail out of my lump of clay until I had a finished novel. The next book became easier, and the third was easier than the second.

And then, and then...

I had kids. You can probably see where I'm going with this by now. It took me two years to start writing again. For the longest time, I stared at a blinking cursor on a white page and felt certain I could no longer do it. The same longest time I couldn't run.

One foot in front of the other. One word after another. I pushed forward, with new goals, a different mentality, and a new appreciation for getting back into what makes me "me."

Of course, you know I finished my eighth full-length novel this month (the last in the Ærenden series). It's better than I had hoped. And this was my run today.


For reference, this was my run in April, when I decided not to let my setbacks stop me.


My point? I've had several people say to me recently that they have a great idea for a novel, but they could never write one. It's too long. It's too daunting. They don't know what they're doing. For those people, I want you to remember this: None of us knows what we're doing, not really. We learn every day, and we accomplish what we need by looking at the increments. Write 30 seconds. Write one character. Write one sentence. Break it down and build yourself up.

Before you know it, you'll have met your goal. After all, it's only you that you have to pass today.