Saturday, October 22, 2011

Contemporary Romance With Sweet Spice

Astraea Press has multiple subgenres of romance but also mystery, ya and middle grade. But one thing every book has is an author who creates with a voice signature to themselves. Delaney Diamond offers up her latest release of sweet with a spicy female lead and conflict that keeps the book moving. Check out Worth Waiting For

Historical Fiction Dominates

Historical Fiction is reported to be dominating e-readers and grocery store shelves. Well until the shelves become empty. Astraea Press has it's own Historical Section. And we are chomping at the bit to announce Felicia Rogers There Your Heart Will Be Also. Check  it out and when your hooked hit the buy link at the bottom. You won't be sorry.

Halloween YA Releases
Halloween isn't just for the kiddies it's for the parents and the teens too. Well here at Astraea Press we are busting with excitement with our YA Halloween Releases....Check em out...

Friday, October 14, 2011

Expert Advice on How To Right a Proper Fight Scene

What makes a fight scene engaging and exciting? This is something we writers often struggle with. As a martial artist of 13 years, I'm often asked how to write a leaner, meaner fight scene. For those of you who don't know me, my name is Genevieve Iseult Eldredge. I edit for Astraea Press under the pseudonym Aribeth Kingsleigh. I hold a black belt in traditional Chinese-American Goju-Ryu karate and weapons mastery. I have also studied kenpo, small circle jiu jitsu, judo, and kung-fu. But enough about me. Onward to the fray!
While there are many different techniques for writing a better fight scene, I’ve found that writers seem to face some common challenges. Based on what I’ve seen and experienced as a writer and editor, here are my Top 10 Do's & Don't's for building a better fight scene.

10. Don't: Use an Ace when a Two will do.     
Blasting the bad guy with a Howitzer when he doesn’t need to be blasted with a Howitzer is overkill. Overkill is risky because it can make your hero look like a bully. Instead, make the punishment fit the crime, and you'll fulfill the reader's sense of "rightness."

9. Don't: Be afraid to hurt your characters.
That scratch the epic hero sports after the end battle? You know the one—that tiny bit of blood that serves to enhance the hero’s good looks rather than prove he had to actually fight to win. Well, it’s not as cool as it looks. While there will be times when the fight is effortless for your hero, it’s important to balance that with struggle. Readers like heroes that have to earn their victories. Ask yourself: how heroic is it if it's easy?

8. Don’t: Restrict your characters’ powers.
Don’t give your hero a power (flight, time travel, invisibility, super strength, smoldering eyes) only to take it away every time it might become useful. Instead, let your hero use the power successfully at least once, both to show the reader how it works and to display your hero’s quality. Later, instead of restricting the power, you can make its use have dire consequences—your time-traveler might end up in Jurassic Park instead of Central Park.

7. Do: Be careful in making your character an expert.       
Make sure she can pass as an expert. If your protagonist is a martial artist, make sure you know enough about the martial arts to make your fight scene believable. Interview an expert, go to a dojo and ask questions—people love to talk about their interests—but don't ever fake it. Readers are smart and savvy. The second your expert does something novice, it will destroy the credibility of your fight scene, your hero, your book, you. Reader trust is delicate. Treat it with care.

6. Do: Balance your forces.   
And not just because I suggest it, but because Dwight Swain, author of Techniques of the Selling Writer suggests it.  Your hero is only as strong, smart, and savvy as your villain. If your villain is weak, then having your hero defeat her isn’t very heroic.

5. Do: Keep your level of reality consistent.
 If your fight scene is hyper-realistic, then keep in mind people can take a lot less punishment than Hollywood would have us believe. Any fight with a weapon will be over quickly. Any blow to the head can result in a concussion that can take weeks or even months to recover from. Likewise, if your fight scene is stylistic, keep it stylistic. Characters like James Bond and Neo and Trinity—heroes in epic-style fight sequences—can take far more punishment than normal people. Consistency is key.

4. Do: Remember, magic trumps everything.    
Magic, as long as it is consistent, is a powerful “Get Out of Jail Free” card. Physics, reality, science—it all takes a backseat to magic. Gandalf shouts, “You shall not pass!” and the Balrog falls. No one asks why because it's maaaaagic! But, take care. Magic must have rules and consistency. No one likes a hero who can do everything or to whom things come easily. Keep in mind ways to limit these powerful forces. Even Harry Potter needs his wand to cast spells, and he often struggled with his magic.

3. Don't: fake the facts
Do your research. Know that your heroine’s katana is meant to slice not to hack, and that the .44 Magnum has too much recoil and muzzle blast that it’s generally not used for law enforcement. Does that mean that your hotshot cop protagonist can’t carry a .44 Magnum? Nope. What it means is that you should address that his carrying the Magnum is unique—something that can aid you in the fight scene and character development. Win! The key is not to fake it. Always, always, preserve the readers’ trust in you.

2. Don't: Be afraid to experience.
When in doubt, act it out. If your hero’s opponent is taller, get someone who is taller, and walk through the fight scene slowly and safely. Go to museums, pick up swords and try on armor. Get a feel for what it’s like to swing a long sword, a claymore, a polearm. There’s a big difference. Writing an epic battle? Try LARPing. Throw yourself into the fray to see what it’s like. What town doesn’t have a rod-and-gun club? Interview weapon aficionados. People love to talk about their hobbies and interests. Use that as a resource! The best way to understand a weapon is to seek out an expert who can instruct you in its safe usage.

1. Do: Use short sentences and short paragraphs
Describe only what is essential. I can tell you from experience that in the thick of a fight, you don't have time to notice that "his eyes were blue, the color of wood smoke and he had a salt-and pepper beard lightly dusted with--" Um, no. Unless you’re telescoping time in your scene, you don’t really notice fine details when you’re under attack. In addition, long paragraphs signify to the reader that more time is taking place—a fact that can slow your fight scene down to a crawl. Longer paragraphs take longer to read and thus, they tend to leech tension.  Short sentences increase tension, and tension is of the utmost importance in a fight scene. No reader will put the book down in the middle of a tense fight scene where the hero’s life hangs in the balance. And that’s what it’s all about isn’t it? Keeping the reader reading.

So, that's it, folks—10 Do's and Don't's of a Writing a Better Fight Scene. 
Feel free to question and comment here or follow me on FaceBook or Twitter (@girlyengine).

And a “thank you very muchness!” to Astraea Press for having me. Check out the newest AP releases at

Check out these great Astraea Press titles with complex characters, original plots, and you guessed it fight scenes. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Dragons and Wizards Make Their Mark In YA

Astraea Press is thoroughly proud announce our latest YA release by S.G. Rogers. The Last Great Wizard of Yden. Check out this amazing cover and blurb. The click the title, purchase and download this promising new hit.

After his father is kidnapped, sixteen-year-old Jon stumbles across a closely guarded family secret--one that will challenge everything he has ever believed about his father and himself.  A magical ring his father leaves behind unlocks a portal to another dimension, but in using it, Jon unwittingly unchains the forces of evil.  A crisis develops when a malevolent wizard transports to Earth to kidnap one of Jon’s friends.  With the help of some unlikely schoolmates, and a warrior princess from Yden, Jon embarks on a dangerous quest to free his friend and his father from the most vicious wizard the magical world has ever known.  In the end, Jon will be forced to fight for his life as he attempts to rescue the last great wizard of Yden.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sweet Sadie Therapy, An Author's Inspiration

Sweet Sadie Therapy
By Kay Springsteen

Sadie is a 3-foot tall, 28-pound bundle of pure delightful energy. She’s pretty typical for a little girl just over 2 years old. But she has one thing that sets her apart from most of her peers. She shouldn’t be here. In the autumn of 2008, my son and daughter-in-law were in a horrible car accident, when Jared lost control of their car and went over a mountain embankment. They became airborne and came to a stop only when their car struck a boulder the size of a small truck.

The passenger side of the car took the brunt of the impact and before they got out, the car caught on fire. Faced with the fear of fire, Jared had no choice but to pull his wife from the wreckage himself. By the time help arrived, the fire was out. Nicole was taken to the hospital via helicopter and Jared followed by ambulance.

My daughter-in-law told the hospital staff that pregnancy was always a possibility but a pregnancy test was negative. Therefore, Nicole was taken for x-rays and an MRI. With many broken bones and some internal injuries, Nicole required multiple surgeries to repair the bones in her right arm and wrist. She was also placed into a splint for a broken ankle. Aside from experiencing the impact itself, Nicole was exposed to anti-inflammatory meds, pain meds, anesthesia for the surgeries, and radiology procedures.

Six weeks later, we found out Nicole was pregnant—had been pregnant through the entire ordeal of the crash and her recovery. Doctors warned us that the odds of the pregnancy resulting in a full term healthy baby were slim. And yet, the pregnancy continued. My daughter-in-law took care of herself and saw the doctor faithfully, and still we were warned that there could be problems with the baby after she—we found out we would have a girl in December—was born.

But on May 6, 2009, Sadie Katherine Ann Tate entered the world at a petite 5 pounds 8 ounces, and went home soon after. She is now a livewire who enjoys spending time with the people she loves, loves to read with Mamaa’ (that would be me) and loves to play and run like any other 2-year-old. I think all children are sweet toppings to the sundaes of our lives, but having a baby in my life who beat a lot of odds to get here makes her the chocolate sprinkles on top of the whipped cream. Whenever I feel a little blue, I have only to spend an afternoon with my granddaughter. A little Sadie Therapy goes a long, long way.

Releasing today Heartsent, features Sadie on the cover, along with my daughter, Sadie’s Aunt Mary. I suppose when she’s a teenager and realizes we used her as the cover model for a baby boy, she might have something to say…then again, she does like fixing the car with Daddy.

With her strict no-dating-within-the-department rule, Firefighter Lina Standish has a nickname in the Salem Hills Fire Department: Lina “Standoffish”. But Firefighter Kevin Daly has had his eye on Standoffish ever since a locker room incident nearly a year earlier, and now he plans to break all her rules. With the help of his niece and a hot-air balloon, he gets Lina’s attention and she agrees to “hang out” with Kevin as friends off duty, to take it slow and see where things go between them. Then Lina's life is turned upside down by a surprise miracle who doesn't even have a name. Kevin’s ready to step up, but is Lina?

Friday, October 7, 2011


High school has never been effortless for social misfit Juice Zander and her sophomore year is proving to be no exception.  Having a new boy in homeroom actually pay attention to her might be a start to all that changing.  But there are some big issues brewing.  That fact that Shane Elliot has revealed himself to be a ghost isn’t her biggest problem.  Neither is the fact that he wants her to help him find a “host body” so he can be a real teenager again.  It’s not even that when she does find a possible donor for her supercute ghost, it’s another so-not-ugly guy who for some unprecedented reason likes her.  No, her real problem is that after years of platonic friendship, she discovers one of her best buddies has feelings for her, and she’s afraid those feelings might be mutual.
 Enlisting the help of her tight group of best friends, Juice sets out to 1) find the perfect host for her ghost, 2) figure out her surprising new relationship with her longtime friend and 3) maybe discover she’s not such a social misfit after all.

The Ugly Duckling Debutante

Since childhood Sara has lived with the reality of being ugly. Something her awful family never ceased to remind her. After her sisters run off to Gretna Green, she's left with one choice—go to London and take their place for a Season. It's up to her to marry well and save her family from financial ruin.
A distant aunt decides it’s in her best interest to sponsor Sara for the season and help her snag a husband by any means possible.
Nicholas Devons, Earl of Renwick, is a retired rake and consequently bored with life. He’s given up beautiful women and carnal pleasures. Desperation makes him decide to give his massive fortune away and marry the first country girl he sees.
Lucky for Sara she's that girl. Unlucky for Nicholas, he's to be her new tutor in the ways of the tonTwo waltzes, one masquerade, a violent carriage ride, and two duckless ponds later.... and all that's left is a fun twist on one of the oldest stories ever told.

Jamais Vu

A gunshot echoes thrusting Darby Lambert into a near death experience.  Inside the confines of an ambulance, she meets “the man in white light”.  He takes away the guilt, but makes her question everything. “You will see them,”  he whispers, as he catapults her back into the real world where she is plagued with dreams of demons, nurses, and rock stars. 
Why has He sent her back? Does she have the courage to rectify her sins? Given the chance, could you erase it all?

Halloween Release: The Ghost of Herbert Grezley


If you venture into a cemetery late Halloween night, better watch out for bumps in the night and Herbert Grezley or anything else lurking in the shadows of the tomb stones.

For Petes Sake


Simone has fallen in love, deeply and irretrievably, but not with a boy. The centre of her life is a pup she has rescued from death row. Love has filled her life with problems. She has to talk her parents into letting her keep him. She has made rash promises on her heart, her life and her honor, anything to keep her pup.

Pups need to be fed. Pups dig holes, kill chooks, exercise their teeth on whatever is breakable, and howl all night because they are lonely. Simone puts up her age to get a job paying enough to support him. There are more problems keeping her new job secret from her parents and fighting with her best friend and being impressed by a romantic boyfriend who has not yet discovered she is fourteen to his nineteen years.
When disaster strikes, she finds that her best friend’s advice to ‘tell the truth and shame the devil’ to her parents actually works. And the solid down to earth relationship with her gang of supportive friends is even more appreciated.

The Hidden Door


High schooler Daphne doesn't have any plans for Halloween night until her friend Riva calls, begging her to join their group of friends on a hunt for an answer to a local legend. Daphne hesitates when she learns that her ex-best friend Justin will be there. He is the boy who broke her heart. Still the pull of her lifelong obsession with the mystery on the local university's campus makes her agree to go for the evening.

 Justin has been obsessed with the legend of the Hidden Door his entire life.  The legend involves a headless gargoyle, a curse, and a promise of eternal luck for those who break the curse. To break the curse one must find the gargoyle's head. No one knows where the head has been hidden, but that hasn't stopped Justin from searching most of his life.

 To complicate matters someone has been terrorizing the town and the campus community, masquerading as a vampire. While on their search Daphne and Justin must confront their feelings for one another, and try to keep one another safe as they try to solve the mystery and break the curse.