Video from Big Blue Marble Bookstore Reading!

Here’s a video from my reading from Starsong: Book Three in the Sun Dragon Series at Big Blue Marble Bookstore in Philadelphia!

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Cover Reveal for Caden’s Comet!

I am absolutely IN LOVE with this the book cover for Caden’s Comet: Book Four in The Sun Dragon Series. Stef Masciandaro does incredible work!

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Here’s the back cover blurb:

Long ago, in the days before King Roland, the four dragon kingdoms—Ice, Sun, Earth, and Bone—battled for dominion over the bountiful planet Earth. Prince Grian, a young dragon, hid aboard a Sun Dragon ship, traveled to Earth, and met Caden, an Earth Dragon who’d run away from his village. Despite falling in love, destiny’s plans for them turned cruel, and both perished in the war.

The Artists who created the universe could not let this tragic loss of true love go unpunished. They wiped out the race of Sun Dragons, exiled the Bone Dragons to Draman, and banished the Ice Dragons to the North Pole, safely away from the Earth Dragons. Only the rebirth of Grian and Caden could break the curse. One day, the return of their love would usher in an age of peace and prosperity for all dragons.

But when Prince Grian is reborn, he finds reuniting with his soulmate on Earth will be no easy feat. As he searches for his lost love, the Earth Dragon Protection Society, or EDPS, searches for him, ready to kill him when they find him. If Grian can elude the EDPS, he might find that the true love he once had isn’t guaranteed to bloom a second time.

COMING JULY 2017!

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If you haven’t read The Sun Dragon: Book One in The Sun Dragon Series yet, comment below with your email address (preferably in a safe format, for example annabellejayauthor (at) gmail dot com) for a chance to win a copy of the ebook! 

“Who Are You Wearing?”: Skye Allen

the-songbird-thief-coverLee Crawford is an awkward teenage girl. She’s a lot like me at age 15. Her standard uniform is a men’s Army coat, old boots and jeans. She doesn’t wear any makeup to speak of. Her day-to-day look says “It’s none of your business if I’m a boy or a girl. Back off.” But Lee is also a singer, and she can’t be so invisible when people are listening. That means dressing up for her part-time job singing at funerals, but it also means letting people see her real self once in a while. That’s one of her big dilemmas.

Lee’s story is about voice, as a metaphor and as a real thing. Specifically the voice of a young woman who’s gone through severe trauma. The Songbird Thief is a fantasy, so Lee has to literally wrestle with the magic power of her singing voice and learn how to control it. But it’s also about how Lee expresses herself — to strangers, to the people she loves, and to the people she fears. Survivors of family violence often find themselves examining how the past informs their choices in the present. It’s a step toward breaking the grip of the abuse. That’s also a major question for Lee.

When we first meet Lee, she’s convinced that she is going to turn out to be a bad person because she is half Winter Fey. Those are the evil fairies — or at any rate, they’re much readier to slit your throat than the Summer Fey are. Lee doesn’t think she has a choice about ending up just like them: capricious, cruel, with no morals at all.

But fashion. On her way to coming out of her shell, Lee also gains a healthy dollop of physical confidence — something I love to witness as a writer, since I adored shy Lee so much from the second I met her. She travels to the Winter and the Summer Realms, and in each place, they dress her up in fey clothes. They’re trying to flatter her; their ultimate goal is to harness her singing voice for their own use. But those fine outfits also give us a glimpse into how Lee secretly sees herself.

In the scene I wanted to share with you here, Lee is at a Winter Fey party. The fey are dangerous, but they’re also powerfully seductive, and being dressed by them opens a few doors in Lee’s mind that had been closed until now.

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Excerpt from The Songbird Thief:

“No, I have to go home,” I say to the wall of silver-draped girls who have me trapped. I may not have a strong idea of where “home” is right now, but I definitely do not want to stay here. A girl with deep green skin brushes my mouth with her fingers, as if to say Stay. I shiver when she touches me and the shiver takes me by surprise, like my body is running away without my brain into some unfamiliar country. It’s a good-feeling shiver, but it scares me not to be in control. “I have to go,” I say again, and her mouth widens into dimples and she shakes her head.

There’s no escape anyway. I look around at the brown and teak and pale faces, and someone’s silver eyes smile at me out of a face painted with blue leaves. I feel the tug and press of fingers, the whoosh of cool air, the rustle of fabric, and when the fey girls pull away, my thrift-store dress is gone. In its place are a silver top and midnight blue trousers made of heavy silk twill that pools around my ankles, where they’re tucked into low suede boots. Around my hips is a leather belt with a row of silver rings in place of a buckle. It all fits the way my own clothes never do, not too loose in the chest or too short everywhere. I feel vulnerable, conscious of the snug fit over my hips and the low top leaving more skin bare than I’m used to, but I feel a rush of rock-star feeling too. I sway to watch the fabric bell out around my knees, and I hear laughter. One of the girls who dressed me holds up a silver-rimmed mirror, and I see that they’ve made up my face too. Where all I had on was lip balm before, now I have the smoky eyelids and dewy lips of a model. I look like a girl—a real girl, not a flagpole dressed in a man’s coat from the Army-Navy Surplus store. Even my hair is lying in glossy curls, not its usual fuzzy cap of neglect.

The silver girls stop smoothing down my hair and now they’re tugging at my arms, but I can’t go with them wherever they’re trying to take me. I want to leave. The girl with green skin gives me an appreciative look from boots to hairline, and her breath blows on my ear as she kisses my cheek, and I feel that shiver of pleasure again in parts of my body I’m not used to being conscious of when anyone’s there. Then she grasps my shoulders and spins me around to face the crowd.

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Synopsis:

Where’s the harm in a little petty theft now and then? Fifteen-year-old Lee is about to find out. Lee has a gift—the ability to use her songs to enchant prospective victims, making them easy to rob—but it isn’t without a price. The source of this mysterious ability is revealed when Lee comes to San Francisco, fleeing her stepfather’s abuse: she is half fey. This knowledge puts a strain on Lee’s relationship with her friend and secret crush, Sonja, since Sonja thinks entanglements with the fey only lead to trouble. As her adventure takes her deeper into the intrigues of the Faerie Realm, Lee discovers her power has the potential for more than fun and profit. Some would use it for evil, and only Lee can decide if there’s good to be found in her songs.

Bio: skye-allen-photo

Skye Allen is the author of a YA LGBTQ+ urban fantasy novel, Pretty Peg. Her short fiction has appeared in Toasted Cheese Literary Journal and Of Dragons and Magic and her poetry in Insomnia and Sinister Wisdom. She is also a musician and occasionally performs around the San Francisco Bay Area, where she lives with her wife, their cat and a flock of chickens. The Songbird Thief is her second novel.

Buy the book on Harmony Ink’s website, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble, and contact Syke on facebook, twitter, or through her website

“Who Are You Wearing?”: Calista Lynne

Do Dreams Wear Dresses?

by Calista Lynne

Fashion has always been a bit baffling to me and people tend to label my style as “eccentric”. I don’t intend for it to be this way, it’s just that I have a few rules for my WeAwaken_postcard_front_Harmonyappearance: there must always be pink, glitter is vital, and my middle finger is never painted the same color as the rest. Also I have a tendency to wear birds in my hair. This does not come into play in my writing.

We Awaken is about two asexuals in a F/F relationship. It is YA Magical Realism, the magic coming from the fact that one member of the main couple is a creator of dreams. She inhabits sleeping minds and creates the locations where dreamers spend their time.

Trying to decide what someone like that would wear wasn’t the simplest. Here is the description I give of her entrance:

“I was walking along barefoot, making sure to dig in my toes with each careful step, when a figure appeared in the distance, a small shadow that enlarged as we neared each other. I was soon able to make out the outline of a cloak, flowing around its wearer and fluttering like butterfly wings.

No woman in reality could ever possess such grace. That’s how I realized it had to be a dream. Her skin was barely lighter than the dark of night and a hood was pulled so far over her head it was impossible to make out whether she had any hair. The whites of her eyes stood out greatly in contrast to her skin, matching the intense purity of the lace parasol hanging over her right arm. Her clothing was iridescent and looked almost like oil as it reflected cloudy rainbows with her movements.Whatever mystical material it was composed of was also utilized in the creation of the long dress she wore, which dragged along behind her but failed to leave a trail in the sand. We were close, barely two feet apart,when she began to speak.”

I’m not going to lie, the iridescent cloak and dress were mostly picked because it seemed mystical and cool. If I were composed of imagination and could create my own clothes, I’d want something neat like that as well. The parasol does have an explanation, though. While researching for this novel, I read up on the fairytale of the sandman. He’s one of the only other fictional characters I knew of who created dreams. In certain variations of the tale, he carries a colorful umbrella that he would hold over the heads of sleeping children and twirl to give them dreams. Giving my creator of dreams a parasol was a sort of salute to that.

Recently someone drew a very beautiful and shockingly accurate fanart of this character, so if you want a better visualization, check this out: Ashlinn by LayaArt

I try to make the clothing of my characters reflections of them. There is one who wears pleather and a cardigan with the words Cherry Bomb embroidered on it in red thread. Just by saying that, readers begin making assumptions about her personality and it does help with characterization. The other half of my main couple prefers to wear closed toed shoes because she’s a ballet dancer and they can have rather banged up looking feet. You can drop all sorts of hints about someone just by leaving clues in their clothing.

Synopsis:
Victoria Dinham doesn’t have much left to look forward to. Since her father died in a car accident, she lives only to fulfill her dream of being accepted into the Manhattan Dance Conservatory. But soon she finds another reason to look forward to dreams when she encounters an otherworldly girl named Ashlinn, who bears a message from Victoria’s comatose brother. Ashlinn is tasked with conjuring pleasant dreams for humans, and through the course of their nightly meetings in Victoria’s mind, the two become close. Ashlinn also helps Victoria understand asexuality and realize that she, too, is asexual.
But then Victoria needs Ashlinn’s aid outside the realm of dreams, and Ashlinn assumes human form to help Victoria make it to her dance audition. They take the opportunity to explore New York City, their feelings for each other, and the nature of their shared asexuality. But like any dream, it’s too good to last. Ashlinn must shrug off her human guise and resume her duties creating pleasant nighttime visions—or all of humanity will pay the price.
Bio:calista-lynne
Calista Lynne grew up on the American East Coast and is currently studying in London.
She is having difficulty adjusting to the lack of Oxford commas across the pond and writes because it always seemed to make more sense than mathematics. Look for her near the caffeinated beverages.
Buy the book on Harmony Ink’s website, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble, and contact Calista on tumblr, twitter, or blogspot