New Release! Foreign Identity by Becca J. Campbell

Consortium Books is proud to announce the release of Foreign Identity, by Becca J. Campbell.

 


Cold. Confusion. Fear. This is how it all begins.

Waking up without your memory in a cell and bound by chains is terrifying.

Two nameless strangers, a man and a woman, find themselves imprisoned together. With no memories of their own identities, let alone their captor and tormentor, escape is the only option. The pair faces a bizarre labyrinth of rooms and clues that confuse more than they explain. Every discovery only brings more questions.

Who captured them? Why were they taken? What does their captor want from them? What can the riddles mean?

Who are they?

Lacking allies and options, the duo must learn to trust one another. Mazes, puzzles, and even strange, lurking creatures force them to rely on their wits–and each other–for survival. But survival isn’t enough. They need answers.

Will the answers be enough? Will the truth bring them closer together, or drive them forever apart? Will discovering their identities finally bring them home?

 


Get your digital copy at Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble for just $0.99, or order a paperback today!

You can find out more about this book here.

New Release! Stains of Grace (Demons of Saltmarch, #3) by Courtney Cantrell

Consortium Books is proud to announce the digital release of Stains of Grace, by Courtney Cantrell.

 


Anne Waylock thought she was safe. Safe from the madness of demons and the auguren who hunted them. Safe from her tumultuous feelings for the troubled Owin Moran. Safe from the pain of her best friend’s betrayal. Four months ago she ran away from it all, and she never planned on looking back.But when Legion, a mutant demon terrifying and dangerous even to other demons, appears in her new refuge, Anne finds herself forced to flee right back to the people she ran away from.

As if Legion weren’t enough, a normal demon hunts Anne as well, ready to devour her body and soul. Peter, normally the voice of reason and sanity in the face of the supernatural, has broken with reality. The auguren themselves are confused and frightened of Legion’s power and the changes it has wrought.

Even under guard from those trained and specially empowered by God to fight demons, safety is an illusion.

To her growing horror, Anne realizes the only way to set earth, heaven, and hell right is another trip to the demon realm of Saltmarch. The dual threat of insidious demons and Anne’s own weakness leaves her wondering if redemption might be the most painful, and most dangerous, option of all.


Get your digital copy at Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble for just $4.99! A paperback format is coming soon.

You can find out more about this book here.

New Release! Into the Flames (Grover Cleveland Academy, #1) by Jessie Sanders

Consortium Books is proud to announce the digital release of Into the Flames, by Jessie Sanders.

 


Rahab Carmichael is just like any other teenage girl starting out at a new boarding school. She’s all alone, a little lost, and she’s never been good at fitting in. Also, just like any normal girl, she has secrets, hopes, and fears she can’t share with anyone. Rahab is normal…the secrets and fears are anything but.Despite her anxiety, Rahab finds friends in Scout and Hawkins. Even though her new friends are social outcasts, Rahab feels a deeper connection with them than she’s ever felt before. But to know how deep, she’d have to risk revealing her own secrets. The idea of being that close to people fascinates her even as it terrifies her.

Another development just as confusing surfaces for Rahab. Everywhere she turns, boys are either flirting with her or teasing her. And she doesn’t care for either option.
Worst of the bullies is John Madison, a jock who refuses to leave Rahab and her friends in peace. The bullying increases and the tension becomes unbearable, forcing Rahab to wrestle with whether or not she has the strength to stand up to John. The only way Rahab can protect her friends is to reveal her uncanny secrets and face her greatest fear. What will she find when she looks into the flames?


Get your digital copy at Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble for just $2.99! A paperback format is coming soon.

You can find out more about this book here.

New Release! Camouflage (Ghost Targets, #4) by Aaron Pogue

Consortium Books is proud to announce the release of Camouflage, the fourth novel in the Ghost Targets series by Aaron Pogue.

We abandoned privacy and turned databases into something like gods. They listened to our prayers. They met our needs and blessed us with new riches. They watched over us, protected us, and punished the wicked. We almost made a paradise.

But there were still places the system could not see. Heading into the high mountains and deep woods was like stepping back in time, to an era where archives were incomplete and untrustworthy. Now a new threat has taken root in the cracks, threatening to expand the already dangerous gaps. Somewhere in remote West Virginia, where the databases’ all-seeing eye sometimes falters, a sheriff is murdered and only the FBI’s Ghost Targets team can track down the killers.

Saddled with a new partner she doesn’t trust, Katie Pratt finds herself in a town whose archive is as full of holes as the people are full of mistrust for federal agents. Trapped in a community of petty criminals, Katie becomes the hunted. Now this city girl must fight to survive in a wilderness without Hathor.

Learn more about this title and order your copy today!

New Release! A Consortium of Worlds #2

We’re proud to announce the release of A Consortium of Worlds #2, a short story anthology by our Consortium Writers!

A Consortium of Worlds is your window into Consortium Books’s outstanding stable of speculative fiction authors. A Consortium of Worlds is a showcase of new and innovative voices in all types of fiction from a publisher dedicated to allowing every writer his or her own voice. There are no slaves to trends or what’s-hot lists here, only writers imagining newer and brighter vistas of unseen tomorrows, untold yesterdays, unknown todays, and untouched worlds of pure imagination.

Joshua Unruh knows that villainy wins all too often in the real world, but what might happen if supervillainy won? Courtney Cantrell smashes fiction and reality together to see what pretty pictures she can make with the pieces. Thomas Beard tells a tale that could be a fable of humanity or a true story from history. Becca Campbell looks to a future where normal is the new freak. Aaron Pogue takes us into a landscape destroyed by the blast-fires of dragons rather than a nuclear furnace, yet no less post-apocalyptic for the difference.

Also in this issue, we bring you intelligent and erudite essays guaranteed to challenge you and make you think. Katy Clift asks if Twi-Hards and Potterheads can’t focus on their similarities instead of their differences. Allison Scott takes a hard look at the first impressions of the e-book shopper.

This issue is Volume 2 of the quarterly magazine. Approximately 30,000 words. Edited by Courtney Cantrell and Joshua Unruh.

Learn more at the book’s product page.

New Release! TEEN Agents in The Plundered Parent Protocol by Joshua Unruh

Consortium Books is proud to announce the digital release of TEEN Agents in The Plundered Parent Protocol, by Joshua Unruh.

 


Mourning, Noone, and Knight. These girls fight evil 24/7!

Best friends Elly Mourning, Hea Jung Noone, and Saturday Knight are about to celebrate their thirteenth birthday. But just before the party starts, a small army of robots descends from the skies led by a mysterious and handsome boy, ruining their party and kidnapping their dads!

Now their fathers are missing and presumed dead. Nobody believes the girls about the robots, nobody believes them about the handsome boy, and nobody believes them about the kidnapping.

Nobody except the Teenage Extranormal Emergency Network, that is.

But before the girls can save their dads, they have to impress TEEN’s director enough to join the agency. To do that, they have to survive tests and death traps. If they manage that perilous task, they only have to outsmart one of the world’s greatest teenage secret agents and a power-mad ten-year-old bent on world domination…all without letting a cute boy come between them.

If the job were easy, they’d send grown-ups. Lucky for the world, this is a job for TEEN Agents.


Get your digital copy exclusively at Amazon.com! A paperback format is coming soon.

You can find out more about this book at Unstressed Syllables.

The Dragonswarm Now Available in Paperback!

If you’ve been waiting anxiously for a paperback copy of The Dragonswarm, you can get it now!

The sequel to the bestselling epic fantasy Taming Fire by Aaron Pogue is now available for $12.99 from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Click here to find out more about the book.

First Impressions

E-authors face a lot of competition. Even though they have a pricing advantage over traditional publishing companies, there are already  many inexpensive and free e-books available. This means that low prices are not enough. E-authors have to find additional ways for readers to notice their books and become interested in reading them. E-authors create a positive first impression when they have book covers that look professional and excellent book descriptions.

The cover is usually the first impression of an e-book that readers have when they are surfing online. On most websites, a cover image is small but can also be viewed at a larger size. A quality design will look sharp in both sizes instead of blurry. The title should also be readable in both sizes. Some e-authors create their own covers with a specialized program or a graphic design program. If they do not have the time, skills, or desire to do it themselves, then they hire an individual or company to help. The cover is important because it shows the book’s “personality,” giving potential readers a glimpse of what to expect.

Another way e-authors can create a good impression is by having well-written book descriptions. When online shoppers click on a book, the description is usually the first text that they see on the page. It is positioned far above the reviews, so if shoppers do not like the description, they will probably not read the reviews. The description tells what the book is about and attempts to create interest in the reader. It also helps shoppers determine what the genre of the book is and what makes the book different from others in that genre. Some books do not have a description at all, which makes it difficult for shoppers to tell what the book is about, especially if the book does not have any reviews either. Shoppers are less likely to buy a book if the only information they have to go on is the cover.

Since the description is usually the first thing that shoppers will read, proofreading carefully is important. Errors in a small block of text could give the impression that the book also will have a lot of errors. Ultimately the quality of the book’s contents matters the most, but a favorable first impression is a crucial aspect of being a successful e-author.

New Release! The Dragonswarm (The Dragonprince Trilogy, #2) by Aaron Pogue

Consortium Books is proud to announce the digital release of The Dragonswarm, sequel to the bestselling epic fantasy Taming Fire by Aaron Pogue.

 


 

 The Kingdom of the Sarianne teeters on the brink. While its tyrant king plays out his petty vendettas, rebellion foments on the edges of his domain. Politics and power struggles gamble civilization on the tides of war.

Yet war is not the greatest threat to civilization. A far older enemy rises. The dragons are waking and these fiends of Chaos will swarm across the world of men, razing it to bedrock just as they have done in ages past.

But this time the world of men has a champion in Daven Carrickson. Once a beggar and still a fugitive from the king’s justice, Daven is also a hero with unrivaled powers. A brush with one of the deadly dragons left him forever bonded to the beast and able to tap into the ever-shifting maelstrom of Chaos that roils beneath man’s fragile reality.

It is a dangerous connection, one that threatens to consume him. Can he pay even that ultimate price if it means the salvation of humanity?

 


Get your digital copy at Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble! A paperback format is coming soon.

You can find out more about this book at the author’s blog.

Review: Cow Boy (Graphic Novel)

Joshua Unruh is a writer with the Consortium. He’s also a fan of comics, graphic novels, and tabletop games, and he’s offered to share that experience with our readers in a regular column.

You can read more of Joshua’s work at his site, JoshuaUnruh.com.


Cow Boy is a tremendous read that I’m having a hard time pinning down.

Not my feelings about it, mind you. I loved it. But the book itself is…complex. Yeah, that’s a perfect word. It’s complex, so I can’t boil it down to a one- or two-sentence high concept. That’s probably the main reason I liked it so much.

So the easy stuff first, those so-called “facts” that don’t need to know how I feel about them in order to be important. Cow Boy vol. 1: Justice Ain’t Got No Age is written by Nate Cosby (Pigs, Jim Henson’s The Storyteller) and Eisner and Harvey Award nominee Chris Eliopoulos (Franklin Richards, Pet Avengers). It also will feature several short stories from Roger Langridge, David Gallaher & Steve Ellis, Brian Clevinger & Scott Wegener, Colleen Coover, Paul Tobin, and others. The publisher is Archaia, which means it will be a gorgeous, full color hardcover available in bookstores that know what’s good.

So, that’s done. Here’s why the thing is a complex piece.

It’s an all-ages book. I follow Nate Cosby on Twitter and he’s often talked about his commitment to and belief in the importance of all-ages material. I share this belief, and not just because I have children. I share it because there are children in the world. I’m a prime example of somebody who developed a love for reading, literature, mythology, and high adventure because of (superhero) comics and I lament deeply that this isn’t really something that can happen with (superhero) comics for my kids. Or at least, certainly not in the bulk of them as it did for me.

Enter every other kind of comics. Especially this one.

Cow Boy is a Western. This isn’t just because that’s a good backdrop. It’s a Western in that the patois is decidedly Western, the archetypes Cosby and Eliopoulos are playing with are decidedly Western, and it’s a premise that works within the genre conventions of a Western and may not work in too many other genres. The tale follows 10-year-old Boyd Linney as he rides across the West determined to bounty hunt his entire, worthless, double dealin’, no good, outlaw kin. All of them. And there’s apparently a lot of them. And he starts with his daddy.

That’s pretty heady stuff for an all-ages book. Betrayal, familial neglect, gunplay, tough-talkin’, and bounty huntin’ (not to mention a crushing disappointment for Boyd from a corner you do not expect) are all tough concepts to talk to kids about. But that’s why this complex book works so well. Eliopoulos’s art is very well done and wonderfully cartoony. I’ve enjoyed his work in broad, slapstick books before.  But in Cow Boy, it’s cartoony to show just how angry Boyd can get, to show just how mean bigotted townspeople can get, or to show how dismaying it can be to know you’re utterly alone in the world at the tender age of ten.

There is some violence, but most of it amounts to less than you’d get from a roadrunner and a coyote. There is some tough talk, but nothing you wouldn’t want your elementary schooler repeating. Mostly, you get very difficult, very emotionally charged topics presented in a way that gives you an opportunity to discuss them with your kids and maybe, just maybe get ahead of some of their own emotional development. That’s pretty intense. And it’s also pretty great.

All of that is wrapped up in a tremendously entertaining story with a lot of very clever writing, both in the plot and in Boyd’s own turn of phrase. They’re then bookended with short stories of only a few pages from some of the more colorful, inventive, and funny people in comics. Though quick and not always packing the same punch as Boyd’s tale, these shorts are a welcome addition to the book.

I recommend Cow Boy to parents, to aunts and uncles, to teachers, to Western fans, and to anyone who thinks smart, emotionally charged, all-ages fiction is worthwhile and important. Look for it in April 2012 in fine bookstores everywhere.