Tracy Banghart

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    Thursday
    Apr102014

    Bookanista Review: STAR CURSED

    My life has been just a LEETLE busy lately, but I've still had time to do a little reading, thank goodness! I've been wanting to read STAR CURSED by Jessica Spotswood, the sequel to her incredible BORN WICKED, for ages but I put it off because I wanted to read it closer to the third book's release. Well, SISTERS' FATE doesn't come out until August, but I couldn't wait any longer!

    I'm not going to include the Goodreads description because it has spoilers for the first book in the series, and if you haven't read BORN WICKED yet, get thee to a book store immediately!

    I'm a huge fan of Jessica's writing, particularly of her gorgeous, detailed (but NOT action-slowing) descriptions. This series is set in an alternate history of New England (with real witches!) and she does such an amazing job of bringing the world to life, blending actual historical details and customs with the imaginative aspects of the witches and Brothers, etc. In that way the series reminds me a little of Harry Potter, with the "muggle" and "wizard" worlds so interwoven you start to question which is which. LOVE that!

    The second book in the series continues the character arcs of the first in interesting, satisfying, and sometimes heartbreaking ways. I loved diving back into Cate's thoughts and meeting her friends - and enemies.

    There's a darkness, an ominous quality, to this book that kept me turning pages and had me not entirely sure the "good guys" were going to make it. I absolutely love when I can't see the resolution coming, and this series is definitely one that keeps me guessing.

    STAR CURSED has it all...romance, drama, suspense...relationships tested, surprises revealed, new questions asked. I plan to reread both BORN WICKED and STAR CURSED before SISTERS' FATE comes out in August...and will be counting the days until I can get my hands on a copy!

    I highly recommend this series, especially if you enjoy historial romances, witches, or beautifully written books. :-)

    ~~

    See what the other Bookanistas are raving about this week!

    Lenore Appelhans is nuts for NOGGIN by John Corey Whaley

    Tracy Banghart swoons for STAR CURSED by Jessica Spotswood

    Rebecca Behrens raves about PUSH GIRL by Bookanista Jessica Love

    Christine Fonseca is riveted by SEKRET by Lindsay Smith

    Jessica Love sings the praises of OPEN ROAD SUMMER by Emery Lord

    Kimberly Sabatini loves BRAZEN by Katherine Longshore

    Katy Upperman is crazy for THE SYMPTOMS OF MY INSANITY by Mindy Raf

     

     

    Saturday
    Mar222014

    Big News!!

    Okay, so today I found out that SHATTERED VEIL received a ::gulp:: STARRED REVIEW from Publishers Weekly!!! ::faints:: OMG I AM IN SHOCK!!!!

    See it? See that amazingly beautiful, gorgeous LOVELY little red star next to Shattered Veil?!?!

    AAHHHHHH!!!!

    Here's the direct link to read the review, in case that screenshot is too small for ya...and my favorite line?

    "What starts as a tale of star-crossed romance quickly evolves into a gripping page-turner, with gender roles and identity explored and questioned at every turn." 

    Did you say "GRIPPING PAGE-TURNER"???? Squee!! :-D

    If you'd like to grab a copy for yourself, here are the links!

    Amazon

    Barnes & Noble

    iTunes

    Smashwords

    Happy Saturday! Hope y'all have a good one! I'm going to make myself a fizzy, yummy drink to celebrate and bask in this incredible moment with a little Veronica Mars. ;-)

     

    Sunday
    Mar092014

    In Which I Get Super Honest

    Blogging has been difficult for me lately. It's hard to find the time, when I have an adorable son to take care of and am trying to use every spare minute to write Tangled Promise, Shattered Veil's sequel. But I DO want to let y'all know I'm still here...and I have something I really want to say.

    If you've read some of my early posts you may know some of this already, but for newcomers, here's a quick, dirty history of my publishing journey: in 2009, I wrote Moon Child. I revised it, queried it in early 2010, and received three offers of representation from great agents fairly quickly and painlessly. I thought I was golden. The agent I chose had tons of experience, was forthright and honest, and super organized. We went on submission shortly after I accepted her offer. And...Moon Child didn't sell. I wrote By Blood. We submitted it to editors. It also didn't sell. MAJOR HOTSAUCE got deployed. I missed him terribly and awoke one morning with an idea for a scifi trilogy. Right from the beginning, I knew THIS one was going to be different. THIS ONE was THE one. I wrote the first draft, the second, the third. We went on submission. Dreams of three-book deals and auctions and general awesomeness danced through my head. Somehow, I'd been able to keep hope alive, despite my first two failed attempts. I told myself Shattered Veil was special. Things would be different. I was so confident, I started writing a fantasy just for me...not because I thought it might be marketable or because my agent asked me to (in fact, she didn't even want to read it), but because I just KNEW SV was going to sell and I'd be busy for years writing the rest of the trilogy, so why not have some fun and do something different now? 

    Well, Shattered Veil didn't sell. There were reasons for this, I'm sure, and the book it became is vastly different from the version that was shopped to publishers. 

    And that's what I want to talk about. I worked with several professionals on Shattered Veil during my traditional publishing journey. One suggested I cut an entire subplot. One thought the beginning didn't work and thought I should cut the first 60 pages. And I did it all. Every change. Even though the book it became WASN'T what I'd envisioned. Even though it made the story feel incomplete to me. But I did it because I was so desperate to sell a book to a major publisher that I was willing to do anything. Change my main characters motivations? Sure. Cut a storyline because it was too "adult"? Why not? I lost myself in trying to please everyone else. 

    This is the truth: I'm happy my books didn't sell to a publisher. I would have liked the money, the validation, the bragging rights. And I have SO MUCH respect and love for my traditionally published compatriots. This is not a rant against the establishment, I promise. But what I've realized over the past couple of years is that traditional publishing was NOT the right fit for me. I was MISERABLE waiting to hear back from editors. I was MISERABLE not having any control over the process. The constant rejection completely sapped my confidence and desire to write. When I decided to self-publish, it was like I could take a full breath again. I absolutely love working with my cover designer, having actual input into what my book is going to look like. I LOVE that I had the freedom to tell the story I really wanted to tell in Shattered Veil. I put the cut storyline back in. I took the feedback about the first 60 pages and rewrote them, but I did it my way, instead of just cutting them. I made the book the story *I* felt compelled to tell. To say I feel passionate about Aris's journey would be an understatement. The way she is at the beginning of the book - even though some people find her annoying - was IMPORTANT to me, because her growth wouldn't mean the same thing if we didn't see where she started.

    The rub: It's scary putting your stuff out there, even when you feel confident that you told the story you wanted to tell. I've been scared that all those editors were right about me and my stories. What if nobody wants to read them? What if they don't sell? 

    And this is what I've realized: Sales and quality don't always coincide. Sure, seems obvious, but it's tough to remember when your rank keeps sinking lower and lower. I'm an unknown indie author just starting to build my social media presence, just starting to get my name out there. Are people finding my books? Not yet. But I'm okay with that. And I stand by my decision to self publish. Because recently, I've read some of the most amazing reviews for Shattered Veil. And I've realized that I'd be happy giving my books away for free and never making a dime if it means I get to read strangers say such amazing things about them.

    Example:

    "It's about a person being restricted and confined to certain expectations by everyone - lover, family, society - and growing beyond those and realising that she's grown beyond those. As many times as Aris doubts what she's doing and thinks that she will fail, she keeps fighting. She's determined and stubborn and proud and that makes her story a joy to read." Read the full review here.

    To have people "get" what the story's about, and who Aris really is, to read how much they appreciate her transformation...well, that's the reward. 

    Do I want to make money with my writing? Yes, yes I do. I want to contribute to my family's financial security and to my little guy's college fund. But I can honestly say I'm no longer willing to define my success by how many books I sell. I'll be defining it by the kind words people share about my books, and the emails I receive begging for the next one. It doesn't matter if the people reading my books get them for free through NetGalley or for a blog tour. They're still readers. And guys, readers willing to read your stuff - even if they DON'T like it - are the most amazing people in the world.

    <3 

     Do you want to read Shattered Veil? I'll gift a Kindle copy to the first three people who comment on this post.

    Friday
    Feb282014

    Happy Book Birthday!

    Today's the big day!! SHATTERED VEIL is now available at all fine online book retailers! (And you can order it in Barnes & Noble stores as well, though it's not on the shelf...YET. ;-))

    I am so, so excited to finally be able to share this book with you. Hooray! And, as an added bonus, my friend Ali Cross's YA/crossover scifi, BLOOD CROWN (which is AH-MAZ-ING) is celebrating its book birthday too!

    It also happens to be my "non birthday" (being a leap year baby and all) and I can't imagine a better birthday present than seeing my special little book baby, Shattered Veil, succeed. Please consider buying a copy and/or recommending it to your friends. Bonus: it's on sale!! Here are the links for Shattered Veil and Blood Crown...pick up both for a FEAST of scifi awesomeness! :-D

    SHATTERED VEIL

    Amazon! http://smarturl.co/Amazon

    Barnes & Noble! http://smarturl.co/BN

    iTunes http://smarturl.co/iTunes

    Smashwords http://smarturl.co/Smashwords

    BLOOD CROWN 

    Amazon! http://amzn.to/MsBtAE

    Barnes & Noble! http://bit.ly/1bKKGjD

    Kobo! http://bit.ly/1o5Spt3

    To celebrate the big day, Ali and I are having a FB and Twitter party (see details in previous post), which means tons of awesome prizes! You can enter now to win the Grand Prize, which includes all of our books AND...drum roll...a new Kindle! Enter below to win!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Thank you so much for your support! Happy reading!

    Tuesday
    Feb182014

    Shattered Veil & Blood Crown Release Party

    So...very exciting news! My buddy and award-winning author (& the interior designer of Shattered Veil!) Ali Cross and I were chatting the other day and realized our books come out the same day! FEBRUARY 28th! AND they're both YA/crossover scifis! Well, you know what this means....

    SUPER MASSIVE AWESOME JOINT RELEASE PARTY!

    That's right! We decided to join forces to offer you even MORE amazing prizes, intriguing teasers, and fun trivia about SHATTERED VEIL, and Ali's novel, BLOOD CROWN.

    Here are more details:

    When: February 28th, 2-7pm EST
    Where: Facebook & Twitter
    Two boys with missions to fulfill.
    Two girls with promises to keep.
    Two worlds to save.

    ONE AWESOME LAUNCH PARTY!
    There will be tons of prizes, including books, movies, swag, etc.
    Here's the link (feel free to invite your friends!):
    BLOOD CROWN
    by Ali Cross
    Androids have claimed power over what remains of the human race. They rule without remorse. They are the Mind and humans exist only to serve them. 
    But it wasn't always so.
    Before the android uprising, select droids, called Servants, were pivotal in engineering a new human race with nanotechnology enhanced DNA. The Blood Crown theorum was to be humanity's crowning glory and the key to their survival in deep space.
    But Serantha, Daughter of the West, was the last female to receive Gifts from her Servant and when the Mind mutinied, she was hidden away, and presumed dead. 
    Without Serantha there is no hope of the Blood Crown being realized so Nicolai, Son of the East, abandons his crown to join the rebel forces. He might not provide the future for his people he had once dreamed of, but he will not go down without a fight.
    When Nicolai discovers Sera among a small compliment of kitchen staff, everything changes--but Sera's Gifts were never completed and she is ill-equipped to face a legion of androids determined to wipe her, and every other human, out of existence.
    Their only hope is the Blood Crown--but even if Serantha and Nicolai can realize their potential it may be too late to save mankind.
    ~
    Okay, so first of all, this book is AMAZING. Honestly. When I finished it I had a total writer crush on Ali and basically just sat and swooned to myself for a while. BLOOD CROWN has incredible action, an amazing main character, and a love story that is (literally!) out of this world. I really can't say enough good things about it and you should DEFINITELY pick up a copy when it releases on Feb 28th (come to our party and win Blood Crown-related prizes!!)
    Read my complete review here and add it to your Goodreads TBR shelf!
    SHATTERED VEIL
    by Tracy E. Banghart
    For Aris, a talented wingjet pilot, war means sacrificing everything: her home, her name, her face—and the one promise she swore she’d never break.
    In the small village of Lux, everyone flies wingjets, but nobody flies them like Aris Haan. When she’s not dancing through the skies, she’s spending every minute with Calix, whom she’s loved since childhood. They plan to Promise, but instead he is sent to defend their dominion against a bloody invasion. Determined not to lose him, Aris follows, joining an underground network of women inside the male-only military. Using secret technology that allows her to pass as a man, she becomes “Aristos”, a Flyer in a search-and-rescue unit. 
    As Aris grows stronger on the battlefield and more comfortable in her guise as Aristos, her personal mission becomes less and less clear. When she and her enigmatic commander, Major Vidar, uncover an astonishing conspiracy that could destroy everything, she must make a choice that will determine not only the fate of her heart, but the future of her dominion.
    Mulan meets Battlestar Galactica in Shattered Veil, the story of how one young woman's quest to save her beloved leads her to save the world.
    It's already gotten 10 5-star reviews on Goodreads from early readers. Check out what folks are saying and add it to your TBR shelf here!
    Our party is going to be kind of an open house-type thing...we'll be popping in and out with giveaways, trivia, and teasers...plus a few fun things on Twitter too. Join now, so you can get updates on the contests...then you can pop in at your leisure! We hope to see you there!