Hidden Sanctuary Cover Reveal!

The time you have all been waiting for has arrived! Okay, maybe it is just me, but I’m going to share it and pretend everyone else has been biting their nails in anticipation. If you can’t wait even a moment longer, you can scroll down to see the new cover, but I first wanted to share some exciting news. 

WA Renaissance Faire

The organizers have accepted my application for a booth at this summer’s Renaissance Faire! I will be there for the second and third weekends of the fair, August 13/14 and August 20/21. With Hidden Sanctuary set to release on August 16th, I am scrambling to make the necessary changes with enough time for author copies to arrive in time for inclusion at the booths. If all goes well, I will be able to sell some advance copies that first weekend!

August 13/14th is the “Fairytales & Fantasy Adventures” weekend, aligning perfectly with the story told in the Hidden Series. Then, on August 20/21, the theme is “Across the Multiverse,” for those who want to dress up in more of a geek chic than fantasy nerd. Either way, I will be there all four days selling books and signing them all!

Hidden Sanctuary

Thank you to Jonathan Lebel for another piece of beautiful artwork. He, once again, took a stick figure sketch from me and turned it into this beautiful landscape with inspiration from the stunning Cascade range we have here in Washington State. 

After the entire series is released, I will probably look at changing up the covers to something more action-oriented and target-market, but I love the art of these images. These original covers will be for me, and I can appeal to the market later. 

*Spoiler alert* This blurb below includes spoilers for Hidden Memory

Larron’s hope fades as he discovers it is not only his people facing the brink of destruction. As the council tries to save what they can, a young mage approaches Annalla with a tempting, if crazy, proposition. He knows a story, an old family tale, and it might hold the answer to finding the fairy.

Join Larron and Annalla as they work with new allies to continue their desperate quest against a cruel dictator bent on destruction in Hidden Sanctuary!

Coulda Been a TPK

First, I would be remiss if I did not start this post by saying, “The Seattle Sounders are CONCACAF Champions League Champions.” Wednesday night, I joined nearly 70k others at Lumen Field for the game.

It was amazing! Suspenseful until the very end. Full of heartache and drama. Filled with career performances. The opposing fans were energetic and awesome as well. Great food, great friends, and a great game!

Go Sounders!

Back to Undermountain

The day after the Sounders game was my monthly D&D session. We busted out the tacos, margaritas, and dice bags for a rousing game of role-playing!

Not Everyone Makes It

In a prior session, the group snuck past a Xanathar’s Guild (XG) outpost to do more exploring of level 2. They ended up finding barrels of dwarven ale and rescuing a young man. Those two events kicked off another round of creative strategizing.

XG knows the groups’ faces and will attack them on sight, but they—hopefully—did not also have a kill-order out on the stranger the party saved. If they dressed him like an XG member, he might be able to, safely, get in for a delivery and get out again.

While some of the party patched up a few cuts and bruises, Ashe snuck back to a potential ally they affectionately gave the code name “Invisidrow.” At the same time, Hudson went to retrieve the keg of beer they opened earlier in the day and doctored it with some poison they had on hand.

The plan was to deliver the ale, referencing the other XG captain on the level, whose name Invisidrow previously gave them. This time, he also agreed to lend them five of his wererat minions for the fight. After enough time passed for those in the XG camp to drink the ale, they would bypass the two beholder zombie watchdogs, charge forward, and open up on them.

It worked brilliantly!

A few of the humans stumbled around, a little drunk, and the wererats kept the bugbears occupied. Urg ran to the middle of the room and cast an area of effect, war cleric, damage spell. Rose and Valorik fought to keep everyone off Urg so his spell would remain up as long as possible.

Something alerted the zombies, and they started floating down to join the fight. Hudson called out a warning, and they doubled their efforts to eliminate the humanoid opponents.

Turn Undead sent one of the zombies fleeing, but the second shot a discintigration ray right at Valorik. He staggered against the blow but remained on his feet to keep fighting. Soon enough, only the zombies remained. They took them out, one at a time, dodging multiple rays.

As another blast came his way, Valorik said, “I am at peace with this.”

The ray hit, but instead of turning to dust, he ran in fear.

Finally, it was over.

They searched the room before continuing to explore to the south.

A little later, Ashe listened for movement beyond a closed door.

“Sounds like animals,” he said.

“Let’s find out what kind,” Urg said as he opened the door wide.

Three ravenous owlbears picked up their heads and charged.

The sight freezes the group in place, and Ashe barely got off a couple of arrows before the beasts barged through the doorway, biting and clawing.

Valork went down.

Ung went down.

Rose took another round before she, too, fell.

As they lay bleeding on the floor, Ashe and Anakis tried desperately to kill the creatures and keep their friends alive. Hudson flashed forward with a sword of shadow and flame even as one of the owlbears started to drag Urg off into the other room.

One down.

Another.

As the fallen gasped for breath upon the ground, the three combatants charged forward and eliminated the threat. They scattered, rushing to stabilize their comrades, only to find Urg had already breathed his last.

With tears in their eyes, they carried their fallen, dead and unconscious, to a secure location. All thoughts of exploring further faded; they are headed back to Waterdeep.

Book Days Abound

We have a few book-related days lined up and squashed together right around this week. First up was National Tell a Story Day in the USA on April 27th. Today, the last Saturday in April is Independent Bookstore Day! Finally, tomorrow kicks off the start of Get Caught Reading Month in May!

National Tell a Story Day 

On Wednesday, I decided to celebrate this day by posting a few shorts on social media about the various realms mentioned in my Hidden Series. Depending on if and where you follow me, you might have seen one of these three blurbs pop up in your feed: 

  1. The Realm of Elaria, homeland to the elves, used to exist in balance. Growth and destruction. Life and death. Good and evil. Kahnlair has broken this balance. For the first time, evil fights united. A merciless army spreading and overwhelming the allied forces until even the immortal elves face extinction. 
  2. Centuries ago, humans came to Elaria from a realm known to the elves as Aryanna. The two crossed briefly, less than a mere hundred years, for the human realm is governed by the physical world around them. Laws of math and science hold sway, and the humans developed to a point incompatible with Elaria. The realms drifted apart once more. Small human settlements remained within the mystical realm, but in Aryanna, all the elves left behind were legends and folklore. 
  3. The magai of Scorcellen know a great deal, and entirely too little, about the existence of other realms. Scorcellen exists in a magical bottleneck of sorts. In one direction, the realms become lower magic, floating around each other in a nearly linear pattern. In the other direction, the realms fan out, spinning and bouncing off each other, generating a stew of high magical energy, energy the magai need.

I have been getting more questions about the realms and how they interact from readers.

For the Hidden Series, broad information about the realms is not central to the plot, so I have yet to find a way to bring it into the story without it sounding like an out-of-place lecture. 

To resolve this, I have decided to kick off a series of blog posts about the realms as a perfectly placed lecture instead! Readers who follow my blog here or later check the website will be able to get some of those answers to questions I will likely not be fully explaining in the books for quite some time. 

Independent Bookstore Day

For this day, I am going to highlight Page Turner Books in Kent, WA. Earlier this year, Wayne at PTB gave me a table in his store for the Meeker Street Nerd Party event for my first book signing ever. 

PTB has a great selection of books, new and used, and things like Funko toys. Next door, PTB recently expanded into a second location for comics and manga. Between the two, they likely have something to satisfy your reading needs. They also participate in Meeker Street events and have additional nerd-related signings. 

Do they stock my book(s) yet? No, because I’m not yet on expanded distribution on Amazon, and I have not reached out to see if he is interested in buying a couple directly from me. 

Eventually, this will be the most likely bookstore to find signed copies. Once I’m in demand enough for expanded distribution, PTB will be one of the closest indie bookstores to me and easiest for me to stop by and tag a few. 

Get Caught Reading Month

I have decided to issue a challenge to you all for this month: 

In the month of May, anytime from the 1st to the 31st, post a picture or video of yourself with my book (cover visible in either format) on social media and tag my relevant account. It could be Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or TikTok (@tiffanyshearn_author), and all of my accounts except TikTok are at the bottom of my blog, newsletter, and website. 

If just ten people do this, when I do my Hidden Sanctuary giveaway of a signed paperback later this year, I will giveaway two instead of just one, AND everyone who makes a post will automatically receive one entry. 

The giveaway will be done the same way as the first time through the newsletter with the same fine print (mostly around not being able to guarantee international), but you do not need to be signed up for the newsletter to receive this social media entry. I will also allow the winner(s) to pick which of my two books they want me to sign and send. 

Have fun getting caught reading in May!

Business at Hand

World Book and Copyright Day

Today (April 23, 2022) is yet another day to celebrate books and storytelling. 

“Books have long embodied the human capacity to conjure up worlds, both real and imagined, giving voice to the diversity of human experience. They help us share ideas, obtain information, and inspire admiration for different cultures, enabling far-reaching forms of dialogue between people across space and time.”

– unesco.org (https://en.unesco.org/commemorations/worldbookday)

This is an amazing time to be a writer. While there remain limitations in the industry, today, almost anyone can write and be heard. You can blog about your passion for food. You can write, publish short stories or books, and pick from multiple methods for reimbursement. Newsletters, memes, skits, jokes…the world is listening and closer than ever before. 

Copyright

Literary works are “protected” as soon as they exist, but such protection does not guarantee smooth sailing. There may be unscrupulous people stealing your work and claiming you are the thief. Distributors, such as Amazon.com, require proof against such claims. While tedious and frustrating, this helps protect everyone involved. 

To help arm myself, in case I ever face such dastardly knaves, I submitted my work to the copyright office for registration. I now have proof of registration to provide to distributors or others should it become necessary. There is a cost involved in registering, but it is minimal compared to the complications one could face in a dispute without it. Based on all I have heard through various writer groups, I recommend official registration for all writers. 

Other News

I have decided to move my books over to Kindle Unlimited this year! As I am already limiting my distribution through Amazon.com only, the shift has only a few additional drawbacks. Being in KU will allow me more flexibility with pricing and the ability to reach a wider Amazon audience. 

My plan is to shift Hidden Memory over about a month after Hidden Sanctuary releases, then give Hidden Sanctuary a few additional months before moving it to KU. This plan allows me to distribute my digital ARCs without violating any agreements. It also gives those purchasing the book directly a slight advantage for their support.

In another nod to my preorder supporters, I will be starting Hidden Promise, book 3 in the series, at a lower price during the preorder period and raising it to my standard eBook price after release. Thanks for all your support as I kick off my writing career!

What a Week

Last weekend, I polished three more chapters of book three to send to my alpha readers. It kicked off a busy bunch of days for me, most of which subsequently had little to do with my writing. Work has been long hours packed with deliverables and meetings. 

If you don’t know much about working in finance, the first two weeks of the month are usually busy. In the first week, accounting is closing out the books with all the final transactions coming in. This week, week two, is when the data makes its way to us finance analysts for performance analysis.

I spent much of the week working through variances and presenting performance to various people in the organization. The rest of the week, and my long workdays, were driven by some capstone project presentations. These are fun because I get a chance to work with new company leaders kicking off a new role, but they are also draining.

Each one lasts one and a half to two hours, and I attended four this week. 

That all adds up to a lot of people. I am exhausted, and it is shaping up to be another busy weekend. Tonight is a Sounders game, and tomorrow a Reign game. I will be having fun watching soccer this Easter, and I will have to take my mom out later for missing lunch. 

The Sounders won their game on Wednesday evening, which means they are heading to the CONCACAF Champions League Final. The second of the two-game series will be played in Seattle, and I’m excited to attend with some friends in early May. It should be a great game. 

With all of this going on, I have two updates for you before I sign off for the weekend:  

  1. The book cover for Hidden Sanctuary is done! I will be sharing it with my newsletter first (probably tomorrow or Monday), so sign up on my homepage today if you don’t want to wait a month to see it on the rest of my accounts!
  2. The Hidden Sanctuary manuscript is with my beta readers, and my editor is lined up. If my current progress holds, I will release the paperback around the same time as the ebook. Fingers crossed!

I hope you all have a wonderful Easter Sunday!