Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Enter the Shadowcaster Preorder Megaprize Giveaway!!

When you preorder a's like a gift you give your future self, right? Well, here in the Realms, we're all about gifting. Now that Shadowcaster is a month away, it's time to roll out the gifts and prizes.

So here ya go:

Everyone (US and Canada) who pre-orders SHADOWCASTER from ANY retailer–local, chain, online, hardcopy, digital–is eligible to win this epic prize pack:

  • A signed first edition hardcover set of the Seven Realms quartet (now out of print.) 
  • A signed first edition hardcover of FLAMECASTER
  • A signed advance reader copy of SHADOWCASTER with the original cover art
  • A lovely dragon pendant to warn others of your inner dragon
  • Other related swag--bookmarks, tattoos, pens, bracelets, and the like. 
  • The first 50 entries will receive a signed bookplate just for entering if you include your mailing address with your entry. 
  • This offer good only in the US and Canada.
  • Deadline is April 4 (the release date.) 

Here's how to enter:

1. PLEASE follow these directions. I'm not very good at following directions, either, but I need your help in order to get you properly entered because I don't have minions. 
2. Send an email to cwchimapromo at gmail dot com. In the subject line, put SHADOWCASTER PREORDER GIVEAWAY ENTRY
3. In the body of your email, include your name and snail mail address; and how/if you would like your books to be personalized.
4. If you would like to receive a signed bookplate, bookmark, etc include your snail mail address. 
5. Make sure I have the best email to contact you
6. THIS IS IMPORTANT: Attach an image of proof of purchase for your preordered book, whether it's an online receipt, a receipt from a store, an email confirmation of an order, a notarized statement from your local bookseller--whatever way you can show me you've placed a preorder
7. Questions? Email me at that same address with the header PREORDER GIVEAWAY QUESTION

Thursday, February 23, 2017


7 MARCH 2017
Shadowcaster Will Not Be Available
But We Can Still have Fun!

SE-YA Fest
March 9-11, 2017
Middle Tennessee State University
Murfreesboro TN
37 Amazing Authors
All YA – All Free

Ft Myers, FL
March 16, 2017, 4:00 - 6:00 pm
Barnes & Noble Market Place SC
13751 S Tamiami Trail,
Fort Myers, FL 33912
I’ll be appearing with other authors from the Cape Literacy Festival

4 APRIL 2017!

Would love to hang out with you at one of these events. Other appearances will be scheduled in the fall. If you want to keep up with events, giveaways, and other news, consider subscribing to my newsletter here

Charlotte NC
Author Appearance and Signing
April 1, 2017, 2 pm
Park Road Shopping Center
4139 Park Road
Charlotte, NC 28209

Hudson, OH
Shadowcaster Hometown Release Event !!
April 4, 2017, 6:00 PM
204 N Main St
Hudson OH 44236

Downer's Grove, IL
Author Appearance and Signing
Wednesday, April 5th – 7:00 PM
Downers Grove
5112 Main St.
Downers GroveIL 60515

Brentwood, TN
Author Appearance and Signing
Thursday, April 6th – 7:00 PM
1701 Mallory Ln
Brentwood TN 37027

Austin, TX
Author Appearance and Signing
Saturday, April 8th –  2:00 PM
603 N Lamar Blvd
Austin TX 78703

Palo Alto, CA
Author Appearance and Signing
Sunday, April 9th –  2:00 PM
855 El Camino Real #74
Palo Alto CA

Santa Cruz, CA
Author Appearance and Signing
Monday, April 10th –  4:00 PM
1520 Pacific Av
Santa Cruz CA 95060

Houston, TX
Author Appearance and Signing
Tuesday, April 11th – 7:00 PM
14532 Memorial Dr
Houston TX 77079

Southern Kentucky Bookfest
Appearance Cancelled!!

Cleveland Heights, OH
Author Appearance and Signing
Tuesday April 25, 2017, 7-9 pm
Mac’s Backs Books on Coventry
1820 Coventry Rd.
Cleveland Heights, Ohio 44118 216.321.2665


Cambridge, MA
Boston Teen Author Festival
Saturday Sept 23, 2017, 9:30-5 pm
Cambridge Public Library
Cambridge Latin School
449 Broadway Cambridge MA 02138

Wooster, OH
Buckeye Book Fair
Saturday, November 4, 2017 9:30-4
Fisher Auditorium OSU-OARDC
1680 Madison Ave, Wooster OH 44691

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Shadowcaster ARC and Swag Giveaway

Got the winter blues? Longing for a new read to take you away from wherever you are?
Maybe you just like winning...

Welcome to the

One lucky winner will come away with a shiny bright Shadowcaster ARC (with the original iconic cover, which no doubt will be a collector's item) signed however you want, plus items from the Chima swag bag.

Be in the know, drop a few hints about the saga to your jealous friends, and please, please, post an honest review on the site of your choice!

The giveaway opens February 15 and closes on the Ides of March (March 15.) Each entry option you choose gets you one entry. Some options, eg Tweeting, can be used every day.

Here's how to enter:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

And, just to whet your appetite, here's an excerpt from Shadowcaster from the viewpoint of Captain Halston Matelon of the Ardenine Army, who is being held prisoner by Captain Alyssa Gray of the Queendom of the Fells. He does not know that she is the heir to the Gray Wolf Throne.

Shadowcaster, from Chapter 40
Hal, unable to sleep, lay on his back, his fingers laced behind his head, his brain rattling like a runaway cart from one problem to another. It had been some time since he’d heard the bell in the tower overhead bong one, but frustration was keeping him awake despite his long walk through the wind and sleet with Captain Gray.
He couldn’t complain about his treatment. If he was a prisoner, he was being cradled in an open hand. He knew that hand would close into a fist with another escape attempt. So it wasn’t enough to escape the keep. In Delphi, he’d been close to the border, at least. Here, there was lots of open space to cover before he reached friendly territory.
If it was even still friendly to Matelons.
He left his locked quarters only for meals, and for his walks with Captain Gray, which inflicted their own kind of torment. Speaking of which, what or who was she expecting to arrive by ship? Why had she barreled down the steps like there were demons at her heels?
He should have a plan by now. Time was wasting, while events in the south went on without him. His father might already be marching on the capital. His mother and sister might be dead. Or worse. He had so many reasons to want to get home. And one reason in particular to stay.
He recalled what he’d said to Gray after his bout with Bosley. Our women are not like you.
Nobody was like her. And now, maybe, he was ruined for anyone else. Meanwhile, she’d made it plain they had no future together. His king had sent him north to die. So far, he’d managed to stay alive, but the experience had changed him. Would he even fit in when he went home?
I need to get out of the witchy north, he thought, before I lose myself. If it wasn’t already too late.
A noise outside his door made him sit upright. The guards in the corridor seemed to be arguing with someone. A voice rose above the others, shutting the discussion down. “I will see him, I don’t care what time it is. Now get out of my way.”
It was Captain Gray.
Hal groped for his breeches, yanking them on hastily. He was just buckling them when the door banged open, and there she was, a bottle in one hand, the other propped against the doorframe. Her shirt was untucked, hanging midway to her knees. She was in her stocking feet, and long strands of hair hung down around her face. Her eyes were deep wells of pain and grief.
“Captain Gray,” Hal said warily. “It’s late.”
“It is late,” she said, her voice a low growl. “It’s late. It’s too bloody late.” Her gaze traveled over his chest and shoulders, lingered there a moment, then seemed to focus. “Where’s your shirt?”
“Forgive me,” Hal murmured. Snatching it up, he pulled it over his head without unbuttoning it. Looking past her, he saw bluejackets milling in the corridor behind her as if unsure what to do. Gray set the bottle in a corner with exaggerated care. Then she turned and threw her shoulder against the door, slamming it in their faces. As Hal watched in amazement, she dragged a massive breakfront over until it blocked the door. She studied it a moment, hands on hips, then spun around to face him.
“Now,” she said, grabbing up the bottle and thrusting it toward him. “We are going to play a game.”
Hal eyed the bottle. “A game?”
“A riddle game.”
Hal looked down at the bottle, then back up at Gray, and realized from her slow, deliberate speech that she had been drinking. A lot. “I was just going to sleep,” he said.  “Could we play tomorrow?”
She wagged the bottle in his face. “We’re doing this now.”
He took a step back. “Let’s wait until tomorrow.”
“What’s the matter? Are you scared?”
“Yes,” Hal said honestly. “You’re scaring the shit out of me.” He took the bottle, tipped his head back, and took a careful swig. Blue ruin. It all but lifted the top of his head off.
“Hey! We’re not playing yet.” She grabbed the bottle back and drank, her throat jumping with each swallow. She thumped it down on Hal’s little table and slumped into one of the chairs. “You. Sit,” she commanded, pointing at the other chair.
Hal sat across from her, resting his hands on the tabletop.
“Here’s the rules,” Gray said. “I’m going to ask you riddles, and if you can’t answer, you have to take a drink.”
“Ma’am, I’m really not much for—”
“And every time you say ‘ma’am’ you have to take a drink.”
Hal pressed his lips together and waited.
“Now, then,” Gray said. “First question: Why are southerners such assholes?”
“That’s not a riddle,” Hal said.
“Answer the question.”
“Why are you trying to pick a fight with me?”
“You’re the only flatlander within reach.”
Hal studied her haggard face. In truth, she looked like she’d been run over by a team of horses. He’d seen that expression before, on some of the men in his command. Ambushed by grief, they had taken to drink in an effort to drown it. It was the face of heartbreak. Did it have to do with the ship that had arrived that afternoon?
“What’s happened?” he said. “Tell me what’s wrong.”
“That’s not an answer.” She pushed the bottle toward him, and it rocked dangerously. “Drink up.”
“I’m not going to do this,” he said, shoving his chair back. “I’m going to call for the guards.” Crossing to the door, he took hold of the breakfront and tried to drag it aside. A flicker of motion caught the corner of his eye before Gray bulled into him. This time, Hal was smart enough to mind his feet, shifting them out of danger at the last minute so she was unable to sweep them out from under him. Even drunk as she was, she came close to rolling him over her shoulder. He wrapped his arms around her in a kind of bear hug, and wrestled her to the floor so he could pin down her flailing arms and legs. It took the full weight of his body to keep her down. She was yelling something at him, over and over.
“Why did you do it? Why did you bastards murder my brother? He was a healer! He never did anyone any harm.”
Bewildered, Hal tried to remember what she’d told him about her family. If he remembered right, her brother had died years ago. Sometimes drink will surface long-buried hurts, like corpses floating out of a flooded graveyard. Hal had seen it before, in taverns and inns, when the hour was late and the ale had been flowing.
“I’m sorry about your brother,” Hal said. “Too many people have died in this war—people we can’t afford to lose.”
“Sorry doesn’t bring him back,” Gray said, her voice hitching. She’d stopped struggling, and now lay on the stone floor, limp and weeping.
“I know,” he murmured. “I know.” He didn’t know, exactly, but he could imagine how he would feel if the war took Harper and Robert from him. Though, just now, they seemed more at risk from his own king than from the enemy they were supposed to be fighting.
Taking a chance, Hal slid his arms under Gray, leaned his back against the wall, and scooped her onto his lap. She buried her face in his shirt and kept crying, clutching a fistful of the fabric. Gently, he rocked her, smoothing back her hair and kissing her forehead, murmuring whatever came to mind. Eventually, she slept, lips slightly parted, tears still leaking from under her eyelashes.
He recalled the glib words he’d said to her, the excuse used through history by soldiers standing up for the killing trade.
This is war. People die—even innocents die, unfortunately.
He thought about carrying her to the bed, but that was risky in a hundred ways. So he sat, cradling her in his arms, thinking that he never wanted to let her go.
He heard new voices in the hallway. Someone hit the door, hard, and it shifted the breakfront a little. Three more body hits, and the door had slid open enough to let them squeeze through, Talbot in the lead, still rubbing her
shoulder. She froze, scanning the scene, the bottle on the table, Hal propped against the wall with Gray snuggled in against him, her fingers tangled in his hair.
Talbot raised both hands, palms up, the universal sign for What the hell?
Hal motioned Talbot over, and she squatted in front of them. He eased Gray into Talbot’s arms. Talbot stood, nodded at Hal, as if acknowledging their partnership, and carried Gray from the room. The other bluejackets moved the furniture back into place and left, closing the door behind them.
Happily, they left the bottle of blue ruin behind, and it helped Hal into sleep.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

How To Preorder Signed Books

SHADOWCASTER is less than two months away! If you would like to pre-order a signed copy of SHADOWCASTER (in fact, any of my books,)  you can order from my local bookshop, The Learned Owl, here

If you would like the book personalized, let them know that in the comments of an online order or on the phone. I'll be throwing in some juicy swag along with.

You can  probably also pre-order a signed copy of SHADOWCASTER from any of the bookshops I'll be visiting on tour. My tour schedule is COMING SOON!  Contact your choice of store and see what's involved in placing an order.

Anyone preordering SHADOWCASTER from ANY retailer will be eligible to enter my SHADOWCASTER Grand Prize Giveaway. What's that, you say? Stay tuned. Meanwhile, save those receipts.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Shelve These Under Gorgeous!

Here is the revelation (reveal?) that I promised: a new look for the Shattered Realms series.

As long-time readers know, I've been exceedingly lucky with my cover designs, through three series and two different publishers. I can't take the credit for the outside -- I paint my pictures with words on the inside. Fortunately, my publishers have always included me in the design process, where my role is not to micromanage what genius designers and illustrators do, but to identify mismatches between cover and story that will bring me a slew of emails.
So when HarperTeen proposed changing the cover look for the Shattered Realms to one that was more character-focused than iconic, I knew it presented opportunities and pitfalls. It might attract a new audience, but there's a certain amount of risk in setting aside an established brand. The iconic covers allow readers to create characters in their own image. If you are a fantasy fan of any age or gender, it sends the message: this might be for you.
On the other hand, keeping that brand for three series causes confusion for the reader. After all, the books involve different characters and settings (contemporary Ohio and the Seven Realms) and there are only so many variations on one basic design. Many readers are looking for a character to align with--how cool if the process begins with the cover!
I'm pleased that the first covers feature two of my favorite kick-ass female characters--Jenna Bandelow and Alyssa ana'Raisa. First, I sent descriptions of those characters taken from Flamecaster and Shadowcaster to designers Erin Fitzsimmons and Amy Ryan at Harper. They worked with the illustrator, Alessandro Taini to develop the concept. I love the way Talexi gave these characters a super heroine, graphic novel feel.
After several revisions, I think they've nailed it. I hope you agree!
Here's the hardback and paperback covers of Flamecaster. The refreshed cover features Jenna Bandelow, a saboteur and demolitions expert who loves to blow things up.

And the ARC and final hardback cover for Shadowcaster. The refreshed cover features Alyssa ana'Raisa, a seasoned soldier and the heir to the Gray Wolf Throne (think shield maiden of the north,)

We're already at work on the design for the cover for the third book in the series, Stormcaster.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Flamecaster Holiday Giveaway Winners!

Thanks to everyone who entered my Flamecaster Holiday Giveaway. I'm pleased to announce the grand prize winner, EMILY BROOKS of Mentor, Ohio. Emily entered to win a signed set of books for her boyfriend, who introduced her to the Seven Realms series. A signed set of the Heir Chronicles Trilogy, a signed galley of Shadowcaster, a writing journal,  and other swag is winging its way to her right now!

As for the others who entered, some of you may have already received your swag packs by now. Enjoy!
Signing Shadowcaster for the Contest Winner!
Best of all -- I donated $250 to the Cleveland Food Bank based on the number of contest entries. This money will be used to feed the hungry in Northeastern Ohio in 2017.
Thanks to everyone who entered. Readers rock!
If you didn't win the grand prize, don't despair! I'll be giving away more Shadowcaster galleys in the next few months. And stay tuned for a major cover art announcement tomorrow!

Monday, December 19, 2016

New Series, New Year, New Look!

I often say I'm in the business of transformation. I'm the grand-daughter of a coal miner, the daughter of a truck driver. I've gone from first grade failure to first generation college graduate to dietitian to full-time novelist. But while some things change, others have stayed the same. I've lived in Ohio for nearly all of my life, except for a three-year jaunt in the south. I'm still married to my high school sweetheart. And I like to think that I'm still the girl who went door to door for my candidate the first time I was old enough to vote.
In my book life, Disney Hyperion developed an iconic cover brand that has persisted through two series: The Heir Chronicles and The Seven Realms. When HarperTeen bought my new series, The Shattered Realms, the designers developed a similar brand for the new series, as we were eager to reassure loyal readers that they could look forward to more of what they loved before.

The Heir Chronicles

The Seven Realms

Shattered Realms Original Covers
After ten books, it's confusing. When I'm at a bookfest, behind a table stacked with all of the books in my various series, newbie readers look them over and say, Is that all one series? And, Where do I start? Because the books are not always numbered on the covers, readers don't know if a book is the start of a new series or the continuation of an old one. Maybe--just maybe--it was time for a change.

              Coming January 4, 2017
       A New look for the Shattered Realms!

So the design team at HarperTeen put their heads together and decided to launch a new look for the new Shattered Realms series -- beginning with the paperback Flamecaster and continuing with the hardback Shadowcaster. This time, we decided to showcase some of my kick-ass characters--the ones that go through hell to get from one end of the story to the other.

I've seen the new covers, and they are GORGEOUS!! I can't wait to share them with you. Watch this space and 4 Jan 2017!