Tag Archive | story

Book Cover Reveal and Updates

Good morning, dear readers – I have some exciting news to share!

Heir of Vengeance officially has a cover! I’m so happy with how it turned out. I hope you like it, too!

Please note that the Books-The Ripple Affair page has been updated with the cover info and back cover blurb to let you know what the story is about. Be warned, though – there are spoilers from Heart of Deceit in the blurb, so if you want to stay spoiler-free and haven’t read Heart of Deceit yet, just check out the cover and not the blurb. 😉

I’ve put in a request for a proof copy just to double check and make sure everything looks ready to go. After that is approved, it’s publication time! As always, I will update the website to let you know when it is published.

Thank you so much for all your patience. I know with all the things happening this year and last, it’s been a struggle for me to get things out fast, but I promise it’s worth the wait! This is the biggest book yet (over 400 pages!) and I want to make sure it’s ready before I put it out there.

As for Captain Patty and Whalebone’s War, I’m still writing it and it’s about a third of the way completed. I think you’re going to really enjoy Reuben in this book. He teams up with an unexpected friend and the results are hilarious!

Once again, thank you for all your patience, dear readers! Have a wonderful day!

-Erin

Books That Change Lives

A friend of mine posted on Facebook today about books that change your life. It’s no secret that we all have that special something that awakens a spark in us, and books are often the match that starts the flame. Her post got me thinking of the books I’ve read over the years and whether any of them have had an impact on me. It didn’t take long to think of which one did it, and it brought back a very fine memory.

When I was in my senior year of high school, I was loaded down with AP classes, student government, and prepping for university. There wasn’t much leisure time, and I was one of those teens that insisted on doing everything I could to make my transition to college easier. At the beginning of the school year, I was at the mall and heading out to go home, when I walked past a book store. There, on the front display, was a small shelf of copies of The Lord of the Rings with a cardboard advertisement from the upcoming movie.

It was 2001, so at the time, I hadn’t seen the movies yet. I knew nothing of The Lord of the Rings– in fact, I had never even heard of it! Despite reading tons of books growing up, my fiction was typically revolved around historical stories.

I stopped in my tracks, somehow drawn to the copy of The Fellowship of the Ring that was on display at the window. I can’t really tell you what drew me to it. The cover wasn’t anything fancy. But I felt like I had to see it. As strange as it sounds, I felt like I was meant to read that book.

I’m not one to do things on the whim, and when it comes to money, I don’t like to spend it on something I know I won’t use. But I knew I had to have it. I bought the book, went home, and started to read.

Now, I confess that I didn’t quite read a lot of it at first because homework took priority. Taking four AP classes, alongside a full high school schedule and volunteering, doesn’t leave you with much free time. Also, I may or may not have been going on a Sailor Moon binge at the time, lol! But when Christmas came and I got to see The Fellowship of the Ring movie, I was blown away. Immediately after seeing the film, I picked up the book and read it in a few days.

What followed was a thorough read-through of the trilogy, The Hobbit, and The Chronicles of Narnia (because you can’t read Tolkien without some C.S. Lewis in there, right?) But after reading The Fellowship of the Ring, a spark lit up inside me.

I wanted to write a story like Tolkien.

Characters like Frodo, Faramir, Eowyn, and Aragorn really resonated with me. All my years of reading books never transported me to a faraway world that made me want to live in it. To say that the stories changed my life and inspired me to be brave and kind is putting it mildly. I wanted to be just like the Hobbits and Elves and Dwarves and Men that I read about. And one day, I wanted to inspire other readers like Tolkien inspired me.

Grant it, my stories are nowhere near the level of Tolkien’s, and probably never will be, but there’s a special something about having your life impacted by such a small thing. Like the One Ring impacting Frodo’s life, Frodo’s story impacted mine (but in a good way). And now that I’m a writer, I hope my stories impact the lives of my readers as well.

Think about your favorite books or stories. What are the ones that have impacted your life?

Weekly Update – Finding Callida

I’m in the middle of writing Heir of Vengeance, and that means I have to start working on a new character: Callida Serus, Malina’s older sister.

When I first started planning The Ripple Affair over a decade ago, Callida didn’t exist. In fact, though Malina mentioned having a sister, she was never supposed to appear, remaining a blurb in a sentence for the entire series.

But you know how writing goes. Plans get thrown out the window and characters tend to surprise you.

Callida came about as I was writing the ending for Heart of Deceit. And now that she’s arrived, that means I have to figure out her character – her motivations, her wants, her strengths and weakness, her future. Let me tell you…that’s not easy when the character didn’t even exist until the fourth book was finished.

So this week (as I’ve been recovering from another flu bug), I’ve been spending some time figuring her out. I can’t say I completely know her as well as I do Edward, Bernie, or Malina yet, but she is getting there, and she’s already proving to be a nice contrast to her younger sister. I’m excited for you all to meet her when Heir of Vengeance is complete!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American readers! Have a great week! 🙂

Weekly Update – NaNoWriMo Is Almost Here!

It’s that time of year again!

Late nights writing.  Endless supply of tea (or coffee, depending on your preference).  Sticky notes with plot changes stuck all over the walls.  A perfectly crisp outline suddenly becoming a scribbled and crumpled heap as characters do their own thing.  Becoming a hermit as you attempt to write a novel.

Oh, and this all happens in a month’s time.

Yep, folks!  It’s NaNoWriMo!  

I’m coming in as a veteran of about four years, and I’ve yet to finish a novel in a month.  (Edits are too tempting for me.). But despite the lack of finishing, I will say that attempting to write a novel in a month is not only fun, but also a good way to build a habit of consistently writing.  It’s not easy to take time out of your day to write, especially when you work other jobs and have other commitments.

So as we inch closer to November 1, I’d like to wish all my fellow writers good luck at NaNoWriMo this year!  There’s going to be lots of great stories being told, and even if you don’t finish by the end of November, don’t be discouraged!  Telling a story doesn’t have to be limited by time.

Have a wonderful week!

Weekly Update – Oops…

I’m in the final edits of Captain Patty and Veronica’s Vengeance, and I have to tell you…I’m regretting something major that I’ve done in this series.

(Incoming spoilers in case you haven’t read the first book in the Captain Patty series or are not wanting some small snippets from the upcoming book.)

So…Patrick.

Yes, Patrick.  The original Patrick Peterson and the second Captain Patty’s husband.  If you recall, there’s a small blurb about him in Book One that says he was shot and killed by Rudiger Bartleby during a pirate raid.  Patty (the wife) and baby Reuben escaped and went on to become who we know them as today- a chocolate-addicted cartographer and a sassy pre-teen with a love for all things stink pot.

But as I’ve been working on Book Three, and writing Patty’s backstory on how she met and fell in love with Patrick, I find myself saying, “Oops!”  Maybe I shouldn’t have offed Patrick so quickly before I developed his character to something more than a name.  He’s been too fun to explore and he’s brought a lot of comedy and life to the story.  Should I have really ended it so soon?

It’s one of the struggles of being an author: when do you write off a character?  Grant it, Patrick’s death leads Patty to get her own ship and keeps her and Reuben safe for a while from Bartleby, but still…when you grow to love a character so much, it’s hard to part with them.  (Believe it or not, character write-offs are sometimes just as hard for the writers as it is for the readers.)

So I guess this post serves as a giant “Oops” to my readers.  If you enjoy Patrick as much as I, I’m sorry to say he doesn’t come back (what happens in Book One can’t exactly be erased).  I do hope that, despite his appearance in only one book, you’ll enjoy his presence and contributions to the story, short as it might be.

And if people really, really, really enjoy his character, well…I guess there’s always a spin-off.  😉

Have a wonderful week!

Weekly Update – The Ripple Affair Series Hashtag Game

Have you ever seen trending hashtags on Twitter?  They can be awfully fun to read sometimes.  Recently, a hashtag called #MovieSynopsisIn5Words had been trending, and many took to their phones to Tweet funny phrases describing movies using only five words.  

Well, book characters can do that too!  Only this time, they’ll be talking about what they know best – The Ripple Affair Series!

Listed below are what some of my book characters have written for their own hashtag game: #RippleAffairSynopsisIn5Words.

Edward, on The Ripple Affair…

Romance novel becomes soap opera.

Waffles on Reign of Change… 

Apples contain lots of fiber. 

Emmerich on When Dreams Break…

Nice guy finally gets girl.

Bernie on Heart of Deceit…

Bernie/Marcus becomes the new ship.

King Arden on Reign of Change…

Good king makes bad dad.

Queen Maria on When Dreams Break…

Dinner party fails despite plans.

Aldaric on When Dreams Break…

Ex holds grudge for decades.

Malum on Heart of Deceit…

Boss must do everything himself.

Bohden on When Dreams Break…

Mysterious prophet covers plot holes.

Sir Rikert on The Ripple Affair…

Wise guy ignored like always.

Stay tuned for next week where the characters for The Adventures of Captain Patty do the same!

Also, thoughts and prayers for everyone affected in Las Vegas today!

Weekly Update – Daydreaming Counts As Writing, Right?

I freely admit that I had trouble paying attention in school when I was a kid.

It had nothing to do with the teachers.  They were great people, always trying to make lessons fun and engaging so we kids could learn.  But despite however hard I tried, I just couldn’t keep focused sometimes.  My mind would wander, and I’d daydream almost throughout the day (unless I got to read out of a book, that is…)

Even during the summers, when I was playing basketball or riding around in circles with my bike in the driveway, I’d daydream.  I’d put myself in stories or I’d create new episodes in my head of TV shows I had watched.  

Daydreaming was a part of life, and it wasn’t until I was in graduate school that I learned that it could also be a sign of being a writer.

As I work on finishing my edits and getting the cover designed for Captain Patty and Veronica’s Vengeance, I find myself occasionally daydreaming, even as I write.  I think of possible routes my story can take or how I can shake up my characters’ lives. I think of how I might want my dialogue to sound or whether I want to expand on a side plot or not.  And even though I’m working on the new Captain Patty, I’m already dreaming about how I want The Ripple Affair to end and how I want its sequel series to begin.

Though I would never recommend daydreaming when you should be concentrating (focus on your school work, kids, or you’ll have to learn the hard way like I did and realize studying is actually a good thing, ha!), it’s always fun to take the time (when you can) to “write in your head.”  Daydreaming is a way that writers plan their work, a sort of pre-writing as many others have called it.  Daydreams allow you to see plots and characters and settings and learn if they could possibly work.  It’s a way to test the product before the product is produced.

As this week comes to an end and a new one begins, may you find joy and happiness no matter what sort of dreams you create.  Have a wonderful week!

The Story of Family

Have you ever learned your family history?

Where you come from, who you’re descended from, what stories lie hidden in the mysteries of the past?  It’s an interesting topic, often full of surprises, and it was an adventure I took part in during one summer in my senior year of college.

Being a student of history, I suppose it was only natural to want to know what happened that made my family, well…my family.  And as I started to dig through old records and genealogy trees, I found a whole bunch of interesting information…

  • My family was very fond of building churches.
  • Many of the men were soldiers.
  • My family came from as far north as Sweden and as far east as Mongolia.
  • My family was really, really fond of sailing (I guess that explains why I wrote Captain Patty).
  • Hardly anyone in my family farmed (which also explains why I tend to be really terrible at keeping plants alive).

These are just a few of the stories from my own family history, and I’m sure if you’ve studied your family’s past, there would be many more stories to tell!  But what’s interesting about genealogy is the stories are all unique.  Some are dramas, some are adventures, some are romances, and some are tragedies.  But each of these stories come together to tell the story of one family throughout the ages, a story that every one of us can tell.

When I first started writing The Adventures of Captain Patty, I originally didn’t have Patty’s last name as Peterson.  But after careful thought, I decided to connect Captain Patty to my first series, The Ripple Affair.  Why?  Because with all my writings, I wanted to tell not just the story of an adulterous prince or an on-the-run navigator.  I wanted to connect the individual stories to tell one, giant great one: the story of the Peterson family.

(SPOILERS)  If you read Captain Patty and the Boston Buccaneer, you’ll learn from Reuben that he’s a direct descendant of Marcus Peterson, the famous bowman from The Ripple Affair.  And later on, through more eventual stories, you’ll learn that there are other members of the Peterson family with their own stories to tell.  But like my own family genealogy, the fictional Peterson family is full of different stories and personalities with a single story to tell, and my hope is that that story, the story of family, is one you can connect with as well.

 

Why We Love Superhero Stories

Tomorrow marks the release of “Captain America: Civil War”, and already the internet is buzzing with excitement.  We can’t wait to see Cap and Iron Man fight it out as both old and new Avengers pick sides to see what the future of Earth’s mightiest heroes might become.

Chances are the film is going to do well at the box office.  With past successes in other movies and comics, along with a loyal fanbase and decades of storytelling, superheroes are a type of character that seem to never go out of style.  We loved them as kids and we still love them as adults.

But why?  What is it that makes people like Superman, Storm, Silver Surfer, and Wonder Woman so appealing to us?  Why do kids pretend to be Batman, Spiderman, or Black Widow?

Here are a few reasons as to why I think we love superheroes so much:

1. Superheroes show that we can overcome any obstacle.

Name a superhero who lived an easy life.

No, really.  Try it.  It’s pretty difficult, isn’t it?

Superheroes rarely had it simple.  Whether it was losing their parents, fleeing home, or trying to fit in despite being so different, every superhero had a struggle.  Peter Parker dealt with bullies.  Some of the X-Men tried to hide because they were ashamed of who they were and how people would react.  Bruce Wayne witnessed his parents being killed and lived with the trauma from it the rest of his life.  But what they struggled with soon became their strength.  Peter’s uniqueness (along with some good advice from Uncle Ben) led him to not abuse his powers as Spiderman.  The X-men took their differences to promote peace and unity.  Bruce took control of his fear and turned it as a force for justice.  They all had chances of running away from their problems, but instead, they faced them and grew because of it.  Being a superhero isn’t just about saving others- it’s about saving yourself, as well.

2. Superheroes prove that character counts.

Grant it, not all superheroes are considered role models for the kiddies, but for the most part, superheroes promote values that are often overlooked in society.  Humility, integrity, justice, faith, love…though we often cling to these values, too often their opposites get more attention (and sometimes, praise).  Superheroes, however, promote being good because…it’s good.  There’s no catch, no deal, no requirement.  They’re simply helping others and protecting the weak because it’s the right thing to do.

3. Superheroes celebrate uniqueness.

Superheroes can represent the best of what humanity has to offer, but best of all- they’re unique!  Though some heroes often act as copycats of one another, they all have something that sets them apart.  Whether it’s who they are or what they look like, superheroes show that there isn’t just one type of person who can save the world.  We all can!  And we should never allow our differences to stop us from making a difference ourselves.

4. Superheroes show that we can work together.

Grant it, Cap and Iron Man may be ignoring this point at the moment, but they certainly aren’t the first set of superheroes to have a fight turn into a movie blockbuster (Batman vs. Superman, anyone?)  But even though heroes can disagree, they also are willing to set aside their differences to join forces for the greater good.  Though I won’t speak for Cap and Iron Man (spoilers!), other heroes united to accomplish great things and save the universe.

So whether you’re Team Cap, Team Iron Man, or Team I-Don’t-Care-Who-Wins-Because-DC-Is-Better-Anyways, I think we can agree on one thing: superheroes are great!

And we love them for it.

Story Hop: The Character’s Cafeteria

In celebration of the 2016 Brain to Books Cybercon on Goodreads, I’ve decided to participate in the story hop!  Today’s short story revolves around my book characters gathering in the “Character’s Cafeteria” to discuss just how easy (or difficult) it is being an Erin Cruey book character!

To check out the story hop at the Cybercon, click here.  To check out my booth at the Cybercon, click here.  To check out the rest of the Cybercon, click here.  The event is April 8-April 10th.  Check out the Latest News section for more detailed information!

And now, here’s the story…

The Character’s Cafeteria

Once upon a time, in a land far away
Book characters gathered to discuss the day.
While the author slept and planned the next scene,
Her characters pondered what her writing would bring…

“I…am exhausted.”

The Boston Buccaneer plopped heavily onto his seat, a tray of pizza and cottage cheese being set on the table before him. The other characters at the table gave a familiar nod. They knew that post-book fatigue well.

“She wrote more than she planned, huh?” Princess Bernie asked after taking a bite of pudding.

“Near a hundred pages worth,” the buccaneer muttered. “She didn’t follow the outline again.”

“How bad was it?”

“Bad enough to make me never want to get on a boat again.” He sighed, putting a spoon into his cup of cottage cheese and swirling it around. “Honestly, how difficult is it to follow an outline? You plan a story, type it up, and poof! You’re done. Easy as pie.”

“Did someone say pie?” Sir Ichabod looked up, eyeing the table hungrily.

“Relax,” King Edward said, sliding him over a slice of pumpkin pie. He took it happily, munching away. Edward turned back to the buccaneer with a warm expression. “Look, kid. You’re new. Erin’s one of those authors that plans things and then changes her mind last minute. Best get used to working on a spur of the moment type of thing.”

The buccaneer groaned. “Seriously?” He paused, rubbing his face as he looked up to the ceiling. “I just had to work for a novelist. Mother always said I should’ve went into poetry or short stories.”

“A few extra pages are nothing,” Bernie added. “Wait until she calls you into work at four in the morning because ‘inspiration struck’.”

“Or makes you spend a week complaining like a whiny brat,” Edward scoffed. “I get it that I’m supposed to be angsty, but man…if I wanted to work on a soap opera, I would’ve went into another line of work!”

“At least you get scenes,” Bernie continued. “It took four books for me to finally get some star time. Four books.”

“Poor Marcus…” Edward muttered with a shake of his head. “He’s still sore from when she made him jump out a window for that one scene. I told him not to do his own stunts.”

“It’s not all bad,” Captain Patty chimed in as she joined the table, carrying a salad. “At least our stories are exciting and full of surprises! There’s adventure and mystery and romance…”

“You’re just glad she’s planning a kissing scene for you,” the buccaneer said with a snicker. “Don’t think I didn’t notice you eyeing Charles during our last scene and OW!” There was a loud bang under the table and the buccaneer lowered his hand to his leg, rubbing the new ache away. Captain Patty gave a grin, turning back to her salad.

“Oops. Was that your leg? Sorry. I thought it was the table.”

The buccaneer shook his head, turning back to the others. “All I’m saying is man, this is exhausting. I don’t know how you all handle it.”

“Once you get past the first few books, it isn’t so bad,” Edward replied. “Besides, it gives us a chance to live exciting lives that provide meaning and purpose.”

A loud voice was heard as a little girl ran towards the front of the cafeteria, trailed closely by a little boy. The buccaneer recognized them as Samantha and Reuben, his co-stars. “Franky!” Samantha yelled as she hurriedly scooped up her hamster out of the water. “That pot is not a jacuzzi!”

“Oh bless it all,” Reuben scoffed as he put his hands on his hips. “If it’s not the hamster, it’s the parrot!”

“Or the horse,” Samantha said, looking to the side and giving a huff. “Waffles! Get out of the applesauce!”

The horse lifted his head for a second to neigh before going back to his lunch.

“Oh great,” Bernie said. “Looks like the animal trainer called in sick again.”

“I heard he quit,” Edward said.

“Wouldn’t be the first one.”

Edward chuckled. “Or the last.” He turned as he watched Samantha and Reuben chase Waffles the horse out of the cafeteria as Franky the hamster wobbled back towards the counter, jumping into the tray of coleslaw. Edward looked down at his own food tray, pushing the cup of coleslaw towards the center of the table, feeling a sour taste in his mouth.

“Wow,” the buccaneer said with a shake of his head. “Is it always this maddening here?”

Captain Patty was about to answer when all of a sudden a pair of unfamiliar faces approached. One was clearly human while the other was…

Well, to be honest…no one could really tell what he (or she?) was, other than the fact it was round, floating, and made of metal.

“May I help you?” Patty asked, cocking her brow up in curiosity.

“Greetings,” the metallic thing chimed as the human beside…it…gave a smile, holding up a plate of sandwiches. “We were hoping my partner and I could sit here at this lovely table and join you in conversing.”

The others gave a look to the machine first and then the human, noticing he was a tad…rough looking. Wild hair, pilot shades, a wrinkled explorer’s uniform, and a face full of sarcasm that was just waiting to show off.

“There’s, uh…not many seats here,” Bernie said slowly.

“Do you even eat?” Edward asked the floating machine, to which it beeped and twirled.

“I’m sure he only eats a little bit,” Patty said, the table suddenly going quiet as she let out a laugh. “Get it? Bit?”

Everyone stared at her, their faces blank with confusion.

Patty blinked, playing with her salad. “It’s a joke. You know, cause he’s a machine and machines use bits of information and…”

The buccaneer sighed, smacking himself in the forehead. “And this is why our books don’t do well in the comedy section…”

“Well I thought it was funny,” Patty mumbled as she took a bite of lettuce.

“Look,” Sir Ichabod piped up as he turned to see another young man coming towards the table, carrying a large coffee. “It’s not that we don’t like you, it’s just that…well, this table is for employees. Interns sit in the back.”

“But…we are not interns,” the machine beeped.

“Yeah,” the young man said with a gruff. “We’re characters in stories too, you know.”

“No book? No pay,” Ichabod said as he pulled the last seat towards him. “You work hard like the rest of us and get published, then you can sit with the big kids. Until then, go back to the…uhm…back.”

The machine beeped sadly and turned around, followed by the shuffling young man.

“Published characters,” he scoffed to the machine as they headed towards the intern table. “Think they’re so high and mighty because they’re in print. Guarantee our story’s going to be more popular than their’s. Science fiction’s better anyways. Who reads all that melodramatic…”

“Your language, Engineer,” the machine interrupted. “You know Miss Cruey’s already had a talk with you about cleaning up your toilet talk.”

The others laughed as Emmerich finally reached the table, plopping down besides Ichabod and the buccaneer while taking another swig of his coffee.

“Oh boy…”Edward sighed as he looked away, cringing as Emmerich gave a grin to the group. The buccaneer looked to him with a curious glance, noticing the young Hugellian wasn’t dressed like the other characters. Instead of being in costume, he was…

Well, he was looking like an advertising billboard.

Erin Cruey hat. Erin Cruey t-shirt. Erin Cruey coffee mug (BPA free, of course) and Erin Cruey bracelet. On his belt buckle was the cover of “The Ripple Affair” and on his locket was a heart cut-out of Erin Cruey’s author picture.

“Uh…” the buccaneer began as he eyed Emmerich in surprise. Emmerich looked to him with a grin. “So…you…uh….work in advertising?”

Emmerich shook his head. “Nope.”

The buccaneer was about to ask him why not when Edward interrupted, “He’s a fellow character in our series.”

“He’s also the president of the Erin Cruey fan club,” Ichabod mumbled with a roll of his eyes.

“For good reason,” Emmerich added. “What other woman writes in multiple genres full of twists and turns?”

“Just about every other female author,” Bernie muttered.

Emmerich paused, pursing his lips. “Yes, well…she’s…uh…beautiful and educated and charming and…”

“It’ll be a while before we get a word in,” Edward whispered to the buccaneer as Emmerich rambled on about his “true love”, “but play your cards right, and you’ll get your own spin-off series like brown-noser here. Otherwise, just enjoy the moment.”

“But it’s so tiring,” the buccaneer said.

“All good stories are,” Edward replied with a grin. “Bored characters make boring books, right? Just like unique characters make unique books.  That’s what makes us stand out, kid.  We’re different and silly and fun and we’re proud of it.  And that’s what makes all of this the best job in the world.”

The buccaneer grinned, giving a nod as he took a bite of pizza and ate.

 

I hope you enjoyed the story!  To return to the Story Hop, click here.