The Future of Storytelling & Storytelling Through Branding

Self-published authors and Indie authors know intimately that branding is a type of storytelling. You tell the story about you as an author, you as a storyteller. You tell a story about your books through your cover, your blurb, your logo, your website. Branding is a story.

There’s a wonderful event called The Future of Storytelling. When it comes to looking to the future of our business of books, you could do worse than this site. There are a lot of great ideas here just waiting patiently to be mined for inspiration.

There are numerous videos worth watching, but I liked this one because it deals with the storytelling of branding. It’s an area that authors swear they know nothing about. They swear they can’t be the one responsible for it because platforms and brands and marketing is not in their scope.

But branding is storytelling. And that is absolutely our wheelhouse.

Gretel and the Dark


THIS TRAILER. I’m usually not a fan of book trailers because they tend to be terriblereallybadawful.

But I wouldn’t share one of those kinds of trailers with you guys. I’d never heard of the book before seeing the trailer and now the book is at the top of my wishlist. So there.

Prepare for shivers!

Gretel and the Dark is Eliza Granville’s dazzling novel of darkness, evil – and hope.Vienna, 1899.

gretel and the darkJosef Breuer – celebrated psychoanalyst – is about to encounter his strangest case yet. Found by the lunatic asylum, thin, head shaved, she claims to have no name, no feelings – to be, in fact, not even human. Intrigued, Breuer determines to fathom the roots of her disturbance.

Years later, in Germany, we meet Krysta. Krysta’s Papa is busy working in the infirmary with the ‘animal people’, so little Krysta plays alone, lost in the stories of Hansel and Gretel, the Pied Piper, and more. And when everything changes and the real world around her becomes as frightening as any fairy tale, Krysta finds that her imagination holds powers beyond what she could have ever guessed . . .

February New Releases! Get’m while their hot

White Space by Ilsa J. Bick
Cress by Marissa Meyer
Dangerous by Shannon Hale
Burn (Pure #3) by Julianna Baggott
Mistwalker by Saundra Mitchell
Landry Park by Bethany Hagen

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
Teen Spirit by Francesca Lia Block
Stolen: A Taken Novella by Erin Bowman
The Sound of Letting Go by Stasia Ward Kehoe
Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor
Insanity by Susan Vaught

Tsarina by J. Nelle Patrick
The Tyrant’s Daughter by J.C. Carlson
The Stolen Ones by Richard Montanari
The Real Prom Queens of Westfield High  by Laurie Boyle Crompton
Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci
The Wells End by Seth Fishman

Something Real by Heather Demetrios
Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens
Bright Before Sunrise by Tiffany Schmidt
Alienated by Melissa Landers
Prince of Shadows by Rachel Caine
Perfect Lies by Kiersten White


ya book spy1

Cover Reveal: The Kiss of Deception

I’m so in love with this book cover and the story…ok, can I just have a moment to crush on author Mary E. Pearson? One of my favorite sci-fi books is The Adoration of Jenna Fox by her, so I can’t wait to read about jilted princes and beautiful assassins. Congrats, Mary, on such a beautiful cover reveal!

In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight — but she doesn’t — and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom — to a prince she has never met. On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive — and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—even as she finds herself falling in love.

The Kiss of Deception

Cover reveal originally on RT Book Reviews!

More Mary:



Dystopian YA

Falling out of love with dystopian YA

My book club is reading The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness for February. I’ve been carrying it around in my bag for about two weeks now but I haven’t cracked the spine yet. Every time I consider starting it, I feel this weird pang of anxiety and I just can’t bring myself to pull it out, let alone turn to the first page. Instead I hunch over this month’s Runners World or Mental Floss and pretend like it’s not stooping dark and dystopian under my desk in the forgotten recesses of my bag.

It’s not the book or Patrick Ness. I like him just fine, and I’ve heard nothing but good things about the Chaos Walking trilogy. The thing is, I’m exhausted by dystopian trilogies. I’ve been reading them non-stop for too many years and for maybe the first time I just want to read about a girl falling in love and going to the prom. I want a story that doesn’t require the heroine to starve or bring down a corrupt government or run from zombies.

“Everyone is corrupt. Everything is awful. Everyone will die.  Good luck, sucker.”

I need a break from despair. I need some emotional and mental struggles and less outstanding misery. I want brilliant sci-fi that is not thinly veiled romance in space. I want gritty steampunk or diesel punk that is less about gluing gears to shit and more about how the technology influences class warfare. I want cyberpunk girls with a knack for breaking into things. I want a contemporary graphic novel about a girl living on the streets as a modern day Peter Pan. I want urban adventure. I want Joss Whedon dialogue and Paolo Bacigalupi world building. Add in some Melina Marchetta characters and Cherie Priest’s atmosphere and I’d never leave my reading chair.

I want beauty and wonder and what ifs that don’t start out with, “Everyone is corrupt. Everything is awful. Everyone will die.  Good luck, sucker.”

The thing is, I love dystopian novels. I do. I love the feeling of finding beauty in the dark. I love watching the girls grow stronger and the boys who love them. I love the crazy, scary, horrible (believable) events authors bring down on the world, then pointing and saying, “Can you deal with this? Can you?”

I’m just tired and I’m too good at guessing the bad guy, what’s going on, who will betray who, how it will end.

I regret gorging on dystopian for so long. Like eating a whole birthday cake in one sitting, then breaking out in a sweat every time someone says the word buttercream.

Like my grandmother once said, wagging her finger at naughty little eight year old me – Too much of a good thing, Sommer, and you’ll make yourself sick. See? You’ll never listen and you’ll always learn the hard way. At least you seem quite pleased with yourself anyway. Oh, Grandma. If only you could see the joys of marathoning television shows on Netflix, you’d see I haven’t much changed.

I hope I just need time and some distance and maybe a little historical romance to cleanse the palette. I feel like we are breaking up, dystopian and I.

And I can’t say I’m not just a little bit heartbroken.

 Have you fallen out of love with a genre? Was there a book that made you fall in love with it all over again?
If you fell out of love with dystopian books, what book brought you back to it? Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match...


Insecure Writer's Support Group

Insecure Writer’s Support Group, Letter #10

insecure writers support group 10

Letters of NoteHunter S. Thompson to Hume Logan, 1958 – This is a tiny excerpt from the book, Letters of Note by Shaun Usher.  I strongly, strongly encourage you to get your hands on this book. It looks like there’s a new edition out in May. You can find a fantastic review here that features more from the excerpt below. This book is a time travel device hidden curiously in the shape of a book. The letters are ghosts – beautiful and haunting. But this piece, this piece in particular…

“As I see it then, the formula runs something like this: a man must choose a path which will let his ABILITIES function at maximum efficiency toward the gratification of his DESIRES. In doing this, he is fulfilling a need (giving himself identity by functioning in a set pattern toward a set goal) he avoids frustrating his potential (choosing a path which puts no limit on his self-development), and he avoids the terror of seeing his goal wilt or lose its charm as he draws closer to it (rather than bending himself to meet the demands of that which he seeks, he has bent his goal to conform to his own abilities and desires).

In short, he has not dedicated his life to reaching a pre-defined goal, but he has rather chosen a way of life he KNOWS he will enjoy. The goal is absolutely secondary: it is the functioning toward the goal which is important.







A man who procrastinates in his CHOOSING will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance. So if you now number yourself among the disenchanted, then you have no choice but to accept things as they are, or to seriously seek something else. But beware of looking for goals: look for a way of life. Decide how you want to live and then see what you can do to make a living WITHIN that way of life.”


IWSG badgeYou want more? Go here and share with other insecure writers.

HUGE thanks and love to Alex J. Cavanaugh for being the mastermind behind IWSG.


My Vault of Insecure Writer’s Support Group posts:

Read Letter #1
Read Letter #2
Read Letter #3
Read Letter #4
Read Letter #5
Read Letter #6
Read Letter #7
Read Letter #8
Read Letter #9