Tuesday, November 26, 2019

RESURRECTION: CHILD OF DARKNESS | COVER REVEAL!

Title: Resurrection: Child of Darkness 
Series: Resurrection Series #5
Author: Summer Lane 
Release Date: January 18, 2020 
Synopsis: 

The darkness swallowed us up, but now...
We're coming back into the light. 

In the wake of devastating nuclear attacks across the globe from the evil, fanatical leader Ares, President Cassidy Hart and Uriah True have been forced underground. The militias have gone silent. The rebellion has gone dark. It seems like the war - and the world - has ended at last. 

Cassidy and Uriah find themselves appointed as commanders in an underground bunker society, Silo Nation. Life is carefully controlled, regulated, and structured. Humanity is preserved beneath the surface of the earth...or is it? What secrets are preventing Cassidy from seeing the light of day again? Will she be able to protect her daughter from the evils that lurk within the bunker? What about the rest of the militias? Is Chris Young still alive? Is there any life left on Earth? Is Ares dead? 

So many questions. So much fear. 
So little hope. 

When confronted with a terrifying but challenging question, Cassidy decides to push back against the toxic leadership of Silo Nation and discover the truth about the apocalypse, and the world outside. She fought for freedom, once...

The fight is not over yet. Hope will be born anew. 

Step out of the darkness...and into the fallout. 

*** 
Huge shout-out to my friend Steven Catizone, for creating, once again, an awesome cover for this novel. Resurrection is the second-to last book before Cassidy Hart's personal adventures come to a final close. It will continue her journey of survival and leadership, loss and love. 

Many, many questions will be finally answered. It will all come down to one moment, one very important fork in Cassidy's path. She will have to make a decision, a choice, that will change the course of her life forever. 

Chris Young will be back, as well as a few beloved and familiar characters from the Collapse Series. January 18, 2020 is the launch date for this novel, and I am so excited! January 18, 2013 was the day that I launched my very first novel, State of Emergency, so it's a bit of a meaningful date for me. 

Until then...the countdown is on! Tomorrow, November 27, my digital books will drop to 99 cents on Amazon and Barnes & Noble for my annual Black Friday-Cyber Monday Sale! Also, keep an eye out for my Christmas novella surprise! I can't WAIT to share this story with you, it's been a pure joy to write. Just good, clean fun! 

More later, writing peeps! Have a wonderful, blessed Thanksgiving! 





Friday, November 15, 2019

RESURRECTION: CHILD OF DARKNESS RELEASE DATE + SNEAK PEEK AT MY NEW SCIENCE FICTION PROJECT!


It's finally here: an official release date for RESURRECTION: CHILD OF DARKNESS. I am so thrilled to finally have a launch date on this project. This next installment of Cassidy Hart's story is taking her in crazy new directions, and I feel that it will also be a book that satisfies many of my readers' emotions and questions. Although not the finale in Cassidy's story, it is getting pretty darn close, as I have not yet decided if her tale will end with the 6th installment (decisions, decisions!). 
I will be able to share the full story synopsis and official cover in December 2019. Only one month away! 
**
SIDE NOTE: My annual Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale will be happening again, beginning November 27 and running until December 3rd. All of my digital titles will be available for 99 cents, including my digital collections of the Collapse Series novels! 
**
NOVEL NEWS! I have been promising more information on my current second project for months now, a science-fiction novel. It will be my first foray into space, with an entirely new cast of characters. The title of the novel is EXPEDITION 99. Without giving away too much information, this novel follows the story of a futuristic fighter pilot who is tapped to be part of an elite space mission to save mankind from nuclear destruction. 
For the first time EVER, I am sharing an excerpt from the novel before it has been finished, and I am so excited about it! This novel is a pet project of mine, a story idea that my husband and I jointly created. 
I definitely do not have a release date on this yet, as I am currently focused on getting Cassidy's stories published first. I will update you as I have more information to share. 
Meanwhile, please enjoy this snippet of Erin Colt's adventure. 

Special Sneak Peek
EXPEDITION 99
**
An Excerpt


Florida. Swampland. Green canopies of trees, humidity frizzing up your hair and alligators floating slowly through the marshes. The ocean. On one side, the blue Gulf of Mexico. On the other, the cobalt navy of the Atlantic. The crowds. The tourists. Disneyworld.


It was the water that Erin remembered the most. The sea and the salt in the air and the utter vastness of the sky. She remembered how the grains of sand on the beach squished between her toes, how the salt in the water stung the tiny cuts on her legs. How her mother leaned against her father’s shoulder under a purple umbrella, sipping on pina coladas and waving at Erin with big smiles. “Build a bigger sand castle, love!” Mom always said. “You can do it!”


Those were the memories Erin loved more than anything. Before the bombings.


Before the Great Loss, before being orphaned, before her parents ended up dead - like so many others. Before all of this.


It was both light and sound that woke Erin from a deep, exhausted sleep. She lay sideways on her cot, hovering on the edges of a dream, when the lights to the barracks flipped on. The room was flooded with searing, white-hot light. Crashing - metallic crashing and clanking exploded through the silence of the slumbering barracks. The cadets leapt out of bed, some genuinely terrified - others, simply surprised.


Erin’s eyes watered with the influx of light, swinging her feet out of bed. She had slept with her boots on, laced. Her flight suit folded down to the waist only. Her head swam as she stood, still halfway asleep.


A man stood in the doorway. Tall. Erin recognized him as the man who had initially greeted the cadets on the bus - the hard eyes, the squat face, the broad shoulders. His flat-brimmed hat was pulled low over his forehead. He surveyed the room, accompanied by three lower-ranking officers, and walked into the room, shouting.


“Get your asses out of your sweet slumbering cots and put your boots on the ---damn floor!” he yelled. “LET’S GO!”


Again, Erin noticed the roughness of his voice. The result of years of yelling, of beating cadets into submission through sheer audible abuse.


Erin, like the others, stood in a quick lineup at the foot of her bed, standing at attention, eyes fixed at the far wall. Chest out. Hands at her sides.


The officer walked between the cots, studying both sides of the room.


Why are we being drilled by a man? Erin though absently. Shouldn’t our drill instructor be female or -


He stopped. Up close, Erin could see that one of his eyes was bloodshot, damaged. His right hand was missing a finger. He walked with a slight limp, as if in pain. His namepatch was stitched in bright red, the sign of a drill sergeant: Sergeant Vasquez.


“Sloppy,” he said, eyes darting from cadet to cadet. “Sloppy and slow. If you pansy-ass infants can’t move faster than that in the morning, you will be heading back to Fort Brooks! Are we clear, cadets?”


“Sir, yes sir!”


The response was thunderous, cadets projecting their voices into the phrase with as much gusto as possible. Erin stared at the wall, avoiding eye contact with sergeant. Her face was calm, but her fingers were balled. She could feel her heart in her throat. She’d been through a lot of training to get to Yanez, but this was a whole different level of training. She’d heard stories about how Flight Corps Cadets had been abused, even beaten, by the officers. Maybe it was nothing but rumors...or maybe not. Desperate times called for desperate measures. The country needed an elite and tough-as-nails fighting force of men and women to get out of the global stalemate they’d found themselves in. Hellish training conditions separated the weakest from the strongest very quickly, which is what the military wanted. Needed.


Desperately, desperately needed.


She thought back to her time in the Orphan Quadrants, after the bombings in Florida, where thousands of homeless children like herself were adopted into a foster system from the United States Government.


“You have two choices,” a round, squeaky-voiced woman had told Erin. She was older, sitting behind a desk and a computer monitor, nails manicured ruby-red. Smelled like stale perfume. She peered over her glasses to observe Erin then, six-years-old, dressed in threadbare, standard-issue joggers and a white shirt.


“Two choices,” Erin had echoed, biting her lip. She was missing a tooth, her second one. She’d put it under her pillow in the barracks, but the tooth fairy didn't come. It appeared to Erin that the fairy had died along with her mother…


“Yes,” the woman said, taking her glasses off. “You can stay here and become permanent staffing at this Quadrant. We will educate you and train you to have a career and a life helping the government survive this war.”


Big words: Staffing. Educate. Career. Erin was only six. She understood some of it, but not all. She remained quiet, listening.


“The second choice,” the woman went on, “is to join the Military Academy. You will begin training to be a soldier, and you will grow up in the military, learning to defend this country from our enemies - the very same enemies who killed your family, Erin. You would be training to grow up and stop them, destroy them.” She leaned forward. “It would be your revenge.”


Erin stared at the woman, tears prickling her eyes.


Revenge. Another big word.


“I become a soldier,” she whispered. “That’s choice two?”


“Yes.” The woman paused. “You have until the end of the week to decide. Think about it.”
“What if I don’t like your choices?” Erin asked.


“Well…” the woman put her glasses back on. “That would just be unlucky, because there are no other options for you. You’re here in the Orphan Quadrant, and you are the property of the United States Government. You have two choices available to you. That’s it. Choose wisely.”


That had been so long ago. Many things had changed since then.





Erin had changed. The war had changed.
***



Saturday, November 2, 2019

NANOWRIMO 2019: Are YOU Participating??

Congratulations. If you're one of the lucky ducks who has decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month this year, you're in luck. I'll be chronicling my NaNoWriMo journey here on Writing Belle this 2019. I'll be participating this year in order to finish a manuscript that needs to get done, so let's buckle up and do this! 

I've participated several times before, and with 26 books under my belt at this point, I can honestly declare that it never gets any easier. Writing a book is hard. It really comes down to sitting your butt down in a chair every day and simply WRITING. Not always glamorous. Not always fun. But always, always rewarding. 

This year, I'm taking a more detailed approach to my NaNo experience. Instead of simply outlining the basic idea of my plot, I'm outlining it down to the minutia. I want to make my everyday task of writing a PIECE OF CAKE. I want to be able to hit my daily wordcount goal swiftly, and knowing my gameplan ahead of time will (for me at least) make that an attainable goal. 

I'll be updating you guys on my NaNoWriMo wordcount every week here on Writing Belle. So far, it's only November 2nd, and I'm about to nail down some words in the next ten minutes or so before my 9-month-old awakens from her much-needed nap! 

My secret to stay on track during November with my writing goals is copious amounts of coffee, an outline, and the willingness to give up 2 hours of my day to writing, rather than Netflix or reading. Want to join the journey? Visit NaNoWriMo's official website, make an account, and they will help you track your daily wordcount. Earn a badge if you win! (winning means you hit 50,000 words in 30 days) 

A final note: I promised to tease my newest science-fiction novel here on Writing Belle in November. I'm considering releasing on chapter at a time on Wattpad. What are your thoughts? Let me know!





Sunday, September 15, 2019

COMING NOVEMBER: A TEASER FOR A NEW NOVEL FROM YOURS TRULY (and more!)

It's been a hot minute since I sat down to update everyone on what's been going on in my life lately, writing-wise. I took a small break from the world of fiction to rest a bit after my 26th release in July of this year, and now I'm back at it again with more writing! 

While I'm definitely working on Cassidy Hart's next adventure (Child of Darkness), I'm also plugging away at a new fictional escapade that I will begin teasing in November 2019. I will release the first few pages at that time, and I will continue to release snippets here and there until the project is closer to its release. 

I'm so excited to share this story with everyone. It's a brand new cast, story, and environment. It's a science-fiction thriller and romance, with just a dash of post-apocalyptic fun. It will also be my first "adult" novel, although I suspect many young adult readers will still be checking this one out. 

I am also currently on the hunt for books to feature on Writing Belle for the upcoming holiday season. I'm looking for a boatload of holiday-themed novels/short stories/novellas to feature between November and December. No limit to how many I feature. As many as possible! 

Don't hesitate to reach out, even if I've featured you in the past! I'm always game to do a follow-up feature if it works out! 

Stay tuned, folks...more to come, and keep an eye out for my annual Spooky Reading List for October this year! 


Monday, August 5, 2019

The Yin and Yang of Publishing: Good vs Bad Reviews

I've been hitting it pretty hard for the past nearly 7 years in the publishing world as far as books are concerned, and a question that often crosses my mind is this: are bad or mean reviews of an author's book worth reading or even analyzing? 

In the modern world, anyone, anywhere, can become a book critic by picking a username and logging into their Amazon account. Pick your product, give your stars, and state your opinion. Easy. 

Over the years, Amazon has had issues with people buying positive reviews to prop their own book sales up or worse: competitors paying others to post bad reviews on their rivals' books to damper sales. When it comes to publishing, it seems that some people can really get vicious. That being sad, there are many, many legitimate reviews out there, both positive and negative. 

But as an author, should we be reading the negative reviews people leave us about our books? My answer is yes, as long as you do so through the lens of someone who can take the criticism. Some reviews are genuine, in that the reader really didn't like the novel. It can be valuable to an author to know why, because it helps them tap into what types of elements readers like to see in a book. It can also be toxic, because sometimes, people are cruel and offensive in the commentary for no reason at all. They'll hate a book simply because they can, not because there is any logic in it. Because it makes them feel powerful, perhaps, to put someone else down on a public forum. Those are the reviews you have to skim, to realize that this has nothing to do with you as a writer - this is just Internet drivel, designed to upset you...so don't let yourself get upset. Just laugh about the absurdity of it all and move on! 

When I published my first book, I was always interested to see what people were saying about the writing on both the review sections of different selling platforms, along with discussion forums on the Internet. In the beginning of my novel-writing career, I would get pretty upset about negative commentary regarding my writing. People can be cruel. They don't care or understand that you have not only created a novel - but you have funded it financially, taken a gamble on it, worked your butt off for it, and practically ransomed your soul to bring it to life. So, yeah. Insults can be hurtful, and when I was younger, I would get upset. I remember crying sometimes, because people would say the most inane garbage online. One man chided me because he believed I should incorporate more graphic situations into my novels, or else he didn't buy the realism of my post-apocalyptic atmosphere (he disregarded the fact that the book he was reading was meant for young adult readers). Another one made fun of me because I was "young author", and yet another claimed that he found it hard to take a girl seriously when she was trying to write survival fiction (because apparently, girls aren't allowed to do that?). People can take the opportunity to give an honest review into a spitting match where they exert their egotism and arrogance on the online web, because there is no consequences for their actions. 

As authors, I believe we need to stay in touch with our audiences and read our reviews. We need to know how readers feel about our work. However, no author, no matter who they are, should dwell on negative reviews. Use constructive criticism wisely, because that will help you grow as a writer, but don't bother with the hateful commentary. Look beyond that. 

Are you an author? Do you read the reviews that people leave on your books? How does it affect you? I talk more about this topic in my book, Prolific: Writing A Hit Novel (available in the Kindle and Nook Store). Let me know! Drop me an email or leave a comment. Be sure to follow me on Instagram @writingbelle or Twitter @SummerEllenLane. 





Thursday, July 25, 2019

RESURRECTION: FALL OF MAN - RELEASE DAY!!


Title: Resurrection: Fall of Man 
Author: Summer Lane 
Series: Resurrection Series #4 

Synopsis 
EVIL HAS A NEW NAME, AND CASSIDY HART IS ABOUT TO FACE HIM DOWN.
Ares.
A single, chilling name. The new face of evil. 
Stranded in London with her team, President Cassidy Hart is faced with a new horror as a technological nanovirus begins to spread throughout the globe, driving survivors of the Great War to extreme violence and suicide. 

An offer presents itself: meet with Ares, the creator of a wave of technologically-created plagues, and attempt to negotiate for peace. 
But peace is only an illusion. Ares is out for blood. 

In Greece, Cassidy, Uriah, and their newly minted ally, Ayad, discover the truth about Ares' origins and his plan for the future of the world. The militias try one last time to fight back against the forces of evil...but is it too late? Will Cassidy and Chris reconcile? Can Cassidy forgive Uriah for his previous betrayal? Is there any hope left for the world in the face of this new, terrifying enemy who has sworn to bring about the final fall of man? 

Perhaps. The key to protecting the future...is in the past. 
The ancient world may hold the answers for Cassidy and her friends' salvation. 
Or it may bring the destruction. 

** 
The fourth installment in the bestselling Resurrection Series from Summer Lane, the #1 bestselling author of more than 20 hit titles. 

**

THE PRINT VERSION WILL BE AVAILABLE IN AUGUST 2019. THIS RELEASE MARKS THE DIGITAL LAUNCH ONLY. 

** 

Thank you so much for supporting my writing dreams and allowing me to continue to go on an adventure with Cassidy Hart and crew! This was a fun book to write, albeit a bit dark. It is longer than the previous installment, and it really digs into the reality of a post-apocalyptic world, and how, sometimes, you have to win some and lose some...before you can really win in the end. 

Have fun with this one, and I can't wait to share what I'm working on next with ya'll! 

Have a GREAT weekend, and happy reading!
Also a huge shoutout to my proofreaders, ARC reviewers, formatters, and publicity peeps who help me launch every novel. You guys are the BEST! And in case you didn't notice, my rockin' cover artist returned for this installment, and I'm so in love with this cover! 


***





Sunday, July 7, 2019

Reading Out Loud: Building Language Skills & Fostering Creativity in Children (+ Reading Recommendation List)

Here are the facts: I taught writing and grammar for six years. Over the course of those six years, I worked with kids ranging from kindergarten to high school. I specialized in teaching children how to take the imaginative ideas inside their heads and place them on paper in an organized and coherent fashion that both educated and entertained the reader. It was a blast, and I certainly plan to continue doing writing instruction on some level for the rest of my life. 

As a writing and grammar teacher, I emphasized the importance of reading above all else. Typically, I would have each of my students read one book per week during the school year (sometimes one book every two weeks if it was a particularly long-winded book), regardless of their age or reading level. If I had a younger student, naturally they would be reading a shorter book. Older students would read more "difficult" books. By the end of each semester, each student would always show a profound improvement in their vocabulary, sentence structure, and creativity. Reading, in many ways, did more for their writing skills than writing itself. Why? Because reading is a doorway to language skills. It's the doorway to structuring a cohesive form of communication. Reading ignites imagination, stimulates intellectual thought and reasoning, expands the reader's internal cache of terminology and wisdom, and best of all: it literally teaches you how to write. Through reading, we learn how to tell a story, and how to create characters who matter to our readers. 

Because of the integral part that I believe reading plays in educating children, I am a massive supporter of reading aloud to little ones, even babies. Especially babies, as a matter of fact. I have been reading to my daughter since the day I brought her home, when she was just three and a half days-old. I read everything aloud to her: poetry, board books, magazine articles. Her sharp, inquisitive mind is soaking it all in, and inside her rapidly growing brain, she is cataloging the language skills that reading brings to the table. She's already emulating many word tones and sounds, and although she may not understand what I'm saying to her quite yet, she will. Soon. 

I always encourage parents to read to their children. Try not to be offended, but I can't imagine anything worse than giving my child an iPad. Digital stimulation like that is not meant for little minds. Books, board games, fresh grass and basketballs is how a child should grow up, and storytelling is an imperative part of a healthy childhood. Stories relate ideas about the world around us in terms that a child can connect with. A book will not just entertain your kid...but it will educate them, as well. I'm firmly and unyieldingly against young children playing video games or having smart phones (this is my opinion, of course, so feel free to disagree, but I will happily debate this point), as I feel that the stimulation a child receives from the over-the-top graphics and animation of this age will only feed their future boredom. A kid who is only entertained by CGI and iPads is far less likely to be interested in a book than one who doesn't go to the computer for entertainment. 

This is all up for debate, of course. There are a lot of studies and articles out there that look at the effects of a modern, digitally saturated world on children (see this article on Psychology Today). In 2018, The Telegraph reported that "Fortnite and other addictive video games can have a similar effect on children's brains as drug abuse or alcoholism, MRI scans reveal." (See the full article HERE) This is a serious matter, friends, and it only makes reading all the more appealing, in my opinion. 

In conclusion, I want to encourage you to read to your children. Whether you're a parent or an aunt/uncle, a cousin, a friend, a godmother, a foster parent...whatever you are! Read to your children. Below, I have compiled a little list of my top favorite children's books (and by little, I mean I kept it under 50).

Questions or comments? Please feel free to share your thoughts via Twitter, by tweeting me @SummerEllenLane. Remember to keep your commentary kind and respectful. Thank you, and have a wonderful week! 

My Favorite Children's Books 

Biscuit, by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
Click Clack Moo, Cows That Type, by Doreen Cronin 
Duck for President, by Doreen Cronin 
The Little House on the Prairie Series, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Jamberry, by Bruce Degan
The Giant Jam Sandwich, by Janet Burroway and John Vernon Lord 
A Fly Went By, by Michael McClintock 
Harry The Dirty Dog, by Gene Zion 
Over In The Meadow, by David A. Carter
Corduroy, by Don Freeman 
The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle
Coat of Many Colors, by Dolly Parton 
If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, by Laura Numeroff
Blueberries for Sal, by Robert McCloskey 
Pete the Cat Series, by Eric Litwin and James Dean 
The Tale of Peter Rabbit, by Beatrix Potter (and all of Potter's works, of course, are beautiful and whimsical)
The Little Engine That Could, by Watty Piper 
The Cat In the Hat by Dr. Seuss (I was particularly fascinated by Wacky Wednesday, Horton Hears a Who, The Lorax, and Green Eggs and Ham, when I was a kid) 
Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman 
Big Dog, Little Dog, by P.D. Eastman 
The Gospel Story For Beginners, by Jared Kennedy 
Johnny Appleseed, by Reeve Lindbergh 

***

You can pick up all of these titles on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Simply visit their website to check out each title! 
(I am not being paid to promote any of these. I genuinely love each and every one of these books, and encourage you to add these amazing additions to your home library!)