Feb 26, 2014


Shattered Worlds Blitz: Guest Post, Excerpt, & GIVEAWAY!!!

Hello again! I'm really excited for the book I have up here today. Shattered Worlds is the name of a boxed set of six books written by six different authors, all about post-apocalyptic worlds. I personally love that genre, so I'm really excited for this set! And do you know what the best part is? You can get all six of the books right now for only $.99!

Shattered Worlds by Elle Casey, Shalini Boland, Zoe Cannon, Scott Cramer, Sarah Dalton, & Katie French

Read these bestselling tales of survival against the odds, dark worlds, dystopian regimes and heroic rebels.

Shattered Worlds features six full-length novels from bestselling authors. Immerse yourself in post-apocalyptic civilizations and bleak near-futures where hope still lives.

Featured authors and books are:

Elle Casey: Apocalypsis
Shalini Boland: Outside
Zoe Cannon: The Torturer’s Daughter
Scott Cramer: Night of the Purple Moon
Sarah Dalton: The Blemished
Katie French: The Breeders

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Elle Casey is a full-time writer of New Adult and Young Adult titles in several genres, including romance, urban fantasy, sci-fi dystopian, and action-adventure. She's an American girl who's been living in southern France with her husband and three children since 2010. She loves chatting with her readers, so feel free to drop her a line.


Shalini lives in Dorset, England with her husband and two noisy boys. Before children, she was signed to Universal Music as a singer songwriter. Now, writing novels has hijacked her life and she is usually to be found with a laptop welded to her fingers and the house in a permanent state of neglect.


Zoe Cannon writes about the things that fascinate her: outsiders, societies no sane person would want to live in, questions with no easy answers, and the inner workings of the mind. If she couldn't be a writer, she would probably be a psychologist, a penniless philosopher, or a hermit in a cave somewhere. While she'll read anything that isn't nailed down, she considers herself a YA reader and writer at heart. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and a giant teddy bear of a dog, and spends entirely too much time on the internet.


Scott Cramer has written feature articles for national magazines, covered school committee meetings for a local newspaper, published haiku and poetry, optioned a screenplay, and worked in high-tech marketing communications. His pursuit of a good story has put him behind the stick of an F-18, flying a Navy Blue Angels' fighter jet, and he has trekked through the Peruvian mountains in search of an ancient Quechua festival featuring a condor. Scott and his wife have two daughters and reside outside Lowell, Massachusetts (birthplace of Jack Kerouac) in an empty nest/zoo/suburban farm/art studio with too many surfboards in the garage.


Sarah grew up in the middle of nowhere in the countryside of Derbyshire and as a result has an over-active imagination. She has been an avid reader for most of her life, taking inspiration from the stories she read as a child, and the novels she devoured as an adult.

She is the author of the popular YA dystopia series 'Blemished' and the gothic novella 'My Daylight Monsters'. She is currently working on a YA Fantasy series titled 'White Hart'.


Katie French imagined herself an author when her poem caught the eye of her second grade teacher. In middle school she spent her free time locked in her room, writing her first young adult novel. Though her social life suffered, her love for literature thrived. She studied English at Eastern Michigan University, where she veered from writing and earned an education degree. She spent nine years teaching high school English. Currently she is a school counselor, doing a job that is both one of the hardest things she's ever done and the most rewarding. In her free time she writes, reads great books and takes care of her two beautiful and crazy children. She is a contributor and co-creator of Underground Book Reviews, a website dedicated to erasing the boundaries between traditional and non-traditional publishing. She lives in Michigan with her husband and two children.


Guest Post

"How to Get Over Bad Reviews (or Where is Kelly Clarkston When I Need Her?)"
By Katie French

To put it mildly, rejection sucks worse than a vampire with emphysema. If you are like me, you hate the sting of someone putting you down, of knowing you didn’t meet expectations. I think writers in general are sensitive souls, the kind who can read eighty glowing reviews with a shrug, but if one bad one comes rolling in, they fold like card tables after Bingo night. The bad review has to be the only honest review, right? The rest of those reviewers were being nice or smoking the happy crack when they wrote them. Cue the soul-crushing, chocolate-bingeing depression.

I am a special kind of sensitive. I am what you might call a people pleaser. When I was a child if I did something bad, I often put myself in my bedroom before my parents could. All my caring father had to do was raise his voice in anger and I would burst into uncontrollable sobbing. And I never once received a detention or suspension. I cannot stand if I displease someone or they are unhappy with me. It makes my stomach churn, my pits sweat (thank you extra-strength deodorant) and my mind lock up. I’ll do anything I can to make it right.

So, when I read bad reviews, a kind of self-loathing blackness descends. Let’s look at a few, just for self-torture’s sake. These are for The Breeders and Nessa: A Breeders Story. (Not that you’ll likely want to buy them after reading these.)

“I wish I could give this zero stars. I just could not get into this book. I wanted to, but it was just not well written.”

“...as I get about 40% in I see some almost racist typecasting and it makes me disgusted that the author felt the need to do such a thing. It almost appears as though mexicans, native americans or even arabic muslims are being depicted as barbaric and evil people. The use of language that the author uses for the Riders is blatant and I am almost regretting that I paid her money for this.”

“What a worthless story. Usually I find these stories add or clarify something from the main book. This did not. I'm not sure what the point of it was. And it was RIFE with errors. It's only 39 pages! Give me a break.”

Yeah. Bring on the chocolate and sweatpants. I’m going to bed.

In all seriousness, we all need to learn to adapt to rejection. Writing, like other creative pursuits, invites critics. We ASK people to review and openly critique our work on view for the world. So, what do we do to handle it? Here are some of my unproductive rejection-fighting techniques.

1) Curl up into a ball, curse my life and decide I’m a brainless dolt who’d do better writing copy for laundry detergent bottles.

2) Imagine slow, painful torture to those who oppose me. Search through their reviews for spelling errors and laugh heartily when I find them.

3) Watch a lot of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Drink.

Then, when I want to come out of my funk, I try these.

1) Hit the gym. Pump some butt-kicking music (i.e. Kelly Clarkson, Avril Lavigne and the like). Run until I feel like a person again. Punch something, hopefully a bag.

2) Reread the good reviews. Force myself to believe that all these people were not all drinking the same hallucinatorily upbeat Kool-aid.

3) Watch more It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Drink.

Either way, my motto is never give up. Write until those critics have nothing to say. Write until they have to admit that your next book wasn’t so “eh” after all. Just write. In the end, it’s all about how fulfilled I, not my critics, feel at the end of the day.

So, what about you? What do you do to kick rejection in the hiney?

Excerpt of Apocalpysis by Elle Casey

I stuffed the sleeping bag down into my backpack with angry, punching motions, sick and tired of having to be here and having to do the same thing over and over again. I hated camping, I hated being organized, and more than anything, I hated what this exercise stood for.

“Don’t do it like that. I told you - you have to conserve the room as best you can. You have to travel as efficiently as possible. Take it out and start over.”

“I don’t see what difference it makes.”

“Trust me, it’s going to be a really big deal to you in the not so distant future.” His voice sounded hollow.

“Says who?” I was being ornery. I knew the answer to the question already.

“Says me, Bryn. And the news. Look around, would you?” He sounded like he was pleading now. “Stop defaulting back to the rebellious young teen act, and get serious. We don’t have enough time to play those games anymore.”

“They’re not games, Dad. I am a teenager. I don’t care what the news jerks and the government say.” I threw my backpack down on the ground. “And it’s not rebellious to not want to play friggin’ survivor in the backyard every day.”

My dad looked at me with a sad expression and sighed, reaching over to pull me into a tight hug. He dropped his nose to my head and inhaled deeply.

My face was pressed up against his shirt, and I could smell his sweat mixed with the sweet scent of his aftershave. My dad always said he was the last of a dying breed, using that stuff. He couldn’t have been more right.

“Maybe it’s not going to happen here … to us.” I said it just to hear the words, but I knew it was only wishful thinking.

I could tell he was getting choked up again when he started talking, his voice now hoarse.

“I wish, more than anything else in this world, that you didn’t have to be standing here with me in this backyard playing survivor.” His whole body started to shake with silent sobs. “Oh, God, Bryn. If I could do anything to change this, anything at all, I would. I swear to God I would. But it’s happening. No one can stop it.”

I put my arms around his waist, letting go of my earlier stubborn anger, now choking back my own tears. “I know, Dad. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it.”

“Yes, you did,” he said, sniffing hard and clearing his throat, shifting to hold me at arm’s length. He was staring at me while he smiled through his tears, giving me that look. The one that always made me confess.

“Okay, so maybe I did mean it. But I’ll shut up about it for a little while.”

“Not for too long, though. You wouldn’t be my daughter if you weren’t complaining about something.”

I tried to slap him playfully but he moved too fast for me. My dad is light on his feet, an expert level-one practitioner of krav maga - a certified badass. He’d only recently taken up camping.

“Pick it up,” he ordered, now back in control of his emotions. “Do it again. Only this time, get the air out of that bag first, condense it down …”

I cut him off. “I know, I know … ‘down into the smallest footprint possible.’ Geez, Dad, I’m not an idiot.”

I shook the sleeping bag out and started rolling it up quickly, using the moves I’d been practicing for four months straight to squeeze it down into a lump the size of a small loaf of bread. I folded the whole thing in half, pushed it to the bottom of the backpack, and then let it unfold itself one time, before putting the other items in on top of it: unbreakable water bottle, half-liter of bleach, square of plastic, cup, hunting knife, and various other tools my father was quite certain I would need … once all the adults in the world had died off, leaving us kids alone to fend for ourselves.

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