Promotion Time (Free Book!)

The Amber Ring

A wry but whimsical modern fairy tale, The Amber Ring follows a cynical twelve-year-old girl on her reluctant quest to save an enchanted land after its true heroine – her twin sister – unspectacularly drowns in the real world.

 

I’ve been pretty lax with promoting The Amber Ring lately, so in the spirit of the holidays, I thought I’d do a quick little giveaway.

I’ll make it simple – the first two interested residents of North America to comment on this post will receive a paperback copy of the book.  All I ask is that, if you end up enjoying it, you might consider leaving a review and spreading the word.

Or, if eBooks are more up your alley, you can pick it up for free at your favorite retailer (Kindle | iBooks | Nook | Sony | Kobo) or direct download (ePUB | PDF).

Have a great December, everyone!

 

Bene scribete.

The Amber Ring – WordPress Giveaway

The Amber Ring

When the twelve-year-old Heroine of the Fairwoods dies, her morose twin sister reluctantly joins her trusty gryphon sidekick on a quest to save the enchanted land in her stead.

 

The giveaway I did at Goodreads a few months back got some decent traction, so I figured I’d do a quicker, smaller one here just for my fellow ‘bloggers.

Let’s try this: If you’d like a chance to win a free signed copy of this cynical fairytale novella, just reblog this post.  I’ll gather up the names from the track-back comments, throw them into a randomizer, and announce a winner in two weeks (July 21, 2013).  I don’t anticipate many entrants, so your chances should be pretty good!

 

[This giveaway is for the physical (print) edition.  The eBook, as always, can be acquired for free at your favorite retailer (Kindle | iBooks | Nook | Sony | Kobo) or direct download (ePUB | PDF).]

 

Bene scribete.

The Amber Ring – Free on Kindle

The Amber Ring

When the twelve-year-old Heroine of the Fairwoods dies, her morose twin sister reluctantly joins her trusty gryphon sidekick on a quest to save the enchanted land in her stead.

 

The Amber Ring (my cynical fairytale novella) is now free to download on Amazon’s Kindle!  At least in the U.S. – other territories are hopefully soon to follow.

So go snag yourself a copy!  You won’t regret it.  Unless you hate it.  In which case…you’ll probably regret it.

 

Bene scribete.

A Silly Scene from The Amber Ring

Only a few days left to enter the drawing for one of three signed copies of The Amber Ring.

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Amber Ring by A.L.  Walton

The Amber Ring

by A.L. Walton

Giveaway ends May 15, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

 

And, as always, you can get the eBook for free right now at iBooks, Sony, Kobo, Nook, or download the PDF here!

Still aren’t convinced you want to give it a shot? I don’t blame you – time is precious and new things are iffy. But in an effort to maybe pique a little more interest, I thought I’d share one of my favorite scenes in the book (at least one of the most fun to write), wherein the reluctant heroine Maya and the gryphon Camden encounter the mirthfully single-minded Fairy Cobblers.

Hope you enjoy!


 

Amber Ring Title

“Ho!  Come in, come in!” exclaimed a boisterous little man in a tan shirt and maroon overalls, moments after Maya knocked on the door of his towering boot-shaped house.  “Honey-bear, we have customers!” he called over his shoulder.

“What’s that, sweetie-muffin?” a woman’s voice came in return.

“Customers, cherry-doll, customers!”

The woman came quickly into view, rushing up to meet Maya and Camden as they stepped through the doorway.  She wore olive overalls and a white blouse, and was clapping her hands together with excitement.  “Not just any customers, lovey-cakes, but the Heroine of the Fairwoods herself!”

“Actually,” Cam winced, holding up a talon.  “This is her sister, Maya.  Sofia’s…”

“She’s dead,” Maya said bluntly.

The couple blinked, sharing a surprised look.

“We’re very sorry to hear that,” murmured the man, taking off his cap – which matched his overalls – and holding it against his chest.

“She was just the loveliest girl,” the woman added, shaking her head at the floor.

After an awkward moment of silence, the man put back on his cap.  “Well, we’re glad to meet you in any case, Miss Maya.”  He pointed a thumb to himself.  “I’m Pilder, the husband.”

The woman copied the gesture.  “I’m Hilma, the wife.”

Together, they finished, “And we’re the Fairy Cobblers!”

Maya stared for a moment.  They were about goblin-height, these shoemaking spouses, and had pointed ears.  They looked like they were perpetually on the edge of middle age.  Lesser elves.

“Nice…to meet you,” she managed, taking her first good look around the cobblers’ combined home-and-workshop.  Shoes were piled at every wall from floor to ceiling.  Boots, sandals, clogs, loafers, heels, and slippers in all shapes and sizes covered every spare surface, spilling from shelves and closets and even the chimney.

What was it with fairy-types and shoes, anyway?

“See anything you like?” Hilma asked, noticing her eyes wander.

Maya found it hard not to gawk at the dizzying array of footwear.  There must have been over a thousand pairs just within her sight.  “There certainly are a lot of…shoes.”

“Of course!” Pilder grinned, swinging a fist across his chest.  “We’re cobblers!”

“Are you stocking these all up for a large order?”

“Well…not exactly.”  The shoemaker shrugged abashedly, scuffing the floor with his boot.  “It’s only just…not a lot of Fairwoods citizens actually wear shoes, so…they sort of kind of pile up a little bit.”

Maya raised an eyebrow.  “If the shoes you have aren’t getting taken, why keep making more?”

“Because we’re cobblers!” Hilma cheered.

Maya exhaled lengthily.

“So!”  Pilder clasped his hands together and rubbed them briskly.  “Shall we get you fitted up?”

“Good thinking, sugar-loaf!” his wife chimed.  “I’ll get the big boy.”  She was already behind Camden, grabbing at his hind paws with measuring tape in hand.  He looked back, startled, then tried to pull away gently, turning, but the elf woman spryly and persistently kept up.

“That’s all right,” Maya told the couple, holding up her hands.  “We didn’t come here to get shoes.”

Pilder froze, his expression drooping.  Then he laughed – a nasal, rickety sound – and tapped his foot.  “Didn’t come to get shoes, she says!  Did you hear that, candy-bean?  We’ve got a jokester on our hands!  Ha!  Ho!  Didn’t come to the cobblers for shoes!  That’d be a real cat-at-the-end, wouldn’t it?”  He chuckled again and winked at Maya, then turned and knelt to start digging through piles of his product.

Maya twitched.  “I’m…no, I really—we only came here to ask you a question.  Just a question.”

The cobblers both stopped what they were doing and shared a disappointed look.  “No shoes?” Pilder asked, voice nearly despondent.

“No shoes,” Maya confirmed.

Pilder rose and sighed dramatically, hunching his shoulders and slipping his hands into the pockets of his overalls.  His eyes bored holes in the ground for several seconds, and then he took a sharp breath and looked back up to Maya, jolly composure suddenly regained.  “All right, then!  No biggie!  What can we answer for you, Miss Maya?”

Maya cast a dubious glance back toward Hilma, who seemed to have undergone the same transformation, then asked, “Do you know Gnarble—Gnilling—er, Gnibling—”

“Gnarlington Gnibblemeister?” Camden saved her.

“The gnome geographer?” Hilma intoned.

“The geographer gnome, butter-button!” Pilder corrected.

Hilma put a hand to her chin.  “I don’t know, cookie-lumps, I swear it was gnome geographer…”

“Geographer gnome, coffee-bird!  He’s a gnome who is a geographer.”

“But isn’t he also a geographer who is a gnome?”

“He was a gnome before a geographer, I think you must agree!”

“So shouldn’t gnome come first?”

“No, jelly-dove, geographer is the descriptor, the distinguisher, the—”

“Do you know him?” Maya interrupted.

“Oh!” Hilma touched her chest, smiling apologetically.  “Yes, of course!  We sold him the most dashingly dapper pair of boots just a few weeks back.”

“And you delivered them to his house?”

Hilma clapped her hands.  “We sure did!”

Finally, they were getting somewhere.  “Can you tell us where he lives, then?  We need to go see him.”

The elf put on a pouty face and looked to her husband.

“Well, you see…”  Pilder scrunched up his features, making fists and tapping his knuckles together.  “The thing is…that’s confidential customer information!  We can’t just go telling anyone that, even if you are the Heroine’s sister…”

Maya sighed.  “But you’re the only ones we’ve found who seem to know his current whereabouts.  It would be a very big help to us.  I’m sure he wouldn’t mind.”  He probably actually would, Maya had to imagine, but it seemed like the thing to say.

“It’s about the goblins,” Cam added.  “He can tell us what we need to know to stop them.”

“Goblins,” Pilder grumped, nose reddening.

“Those dirty little devils stole half our leather supply,” his wife mourned.

“And their blasted weasels killed our guard-pig, Spoinky.”  Pilder shook his head, raised an eyebrow to Hilma, who nodded, then turned a grin on Maya.  “I’ll tell you what, Miss Maya – maybe we can make a little fairy bargain.  If you can answer us a riddle, then we’ll tell you where ol’ Gnarly hangs his hat.”

“A riddle?” Maya echoed.  That sounded like a hassle.

Pilder bobbed his head, then cleared his throat into his fist.  “I’m not always right, but I’m never wrong.  I have a tongue and a throat, but no mouth to speak of.  I move better when tied up.  What am I?”

Maya groaned, eyeing Camden with the expectation of shared incredulity, but saw him deep in concentration, mouthing the riddle to himself.  “A shoe,” she answered, pinching the corners of her eyes.

The cobbler blinked.  “O.K.  O.K., that may have been an easy one.  You try, caramel-puff.”

“Sure thing, vanilla-boo, I’ve got just the one!”  Hilma pumped a fist, then gave Maya a devious smile.  “You tread on my sole, yet—”

Maya cut her off, “A shoe.  Are you a shoe?”

Hilma stood in silence, her mouth still hanging open, then folded her arms and nodded gravely.  “Very clever, this one.  I think she’s got us beat, cricket-pie.”

Even Pilder seemed to double-take at that one.  “Yes, yes,” he conceded.  “Very well.  We’ll give you the gnome’s current address.  But on one condition – you must pick out a new pair of shoes to take with you!  No charge, of course.”  He winked at his wife.  “Do we have a deal?”

“You’ll tell us what we need to know if I let you give me free shoes?”  Maya slipped her hands into her pockets and shrugged.  “Yeah, that sounds fine.”


 

Bene scribete.

The Amber Ring – Giveaway

Amber Ring Title

Want a free signed copy of my whimsically dark fairytale novella? Then just enter the drawing below (all you need is a Goodreads account). You could be one of three to win!

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Amber Ring by A.L.  Walton

The Amber Ring

by A.L. Walton

Giveaway ends May 11, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

 

Don’t want to wait until next month (or aren’t in an eligible territory)? You can get the eBook for free at most major retailers (iBooks | Sony | Kobo | Nook).

Or download the PDF right here!

 

Bene scribete.

The Amber Ring – Now Available

The Amber Ring

At the age of ten, Sofia Corona saved the Fairwoods from the malevolent grasp of the Cedar Witch and her goblin army.

Two years later, she drowned unceremoniously in the lake behind her Oregon home.

In the months following the Heroine’s death, when the Fairwoods face a resurgence of goblin attacks, they are forced to turn to Sofia’s cynical twin sister, Maya, for help. Although she wants nothing more to do with her sister’s fanciful adventures, Maya comes to realize that this one last favor could give her the closure she needs to put Sofia’s memory to rest and move on with her life.

With her twin’s magic ring and faithful gryphon companion, Maya embarks on a reluctant journey of whimsical antics and unwitting self-discovery in this stark but humorous fairy tale.

 

My novella, The Amber Ring, came out last week.  If you’re interested, you can get it in good ol’ print direct, or on Amazon (US | UK).

Of course, it’s also available in digital form.  Amazon wants a dollar for the Kindle version, but you can download the book for free here – PDF | ePUB

Seriously, free.  So snag yourself a copy; what have you got to lose?  (>^-‘)>

For those who prefer Nook or iBooks, I understand it is soon to be released on those platforms as well.  In any case, if you give it a try, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

Bene scribete.

Synopses

While putting the finishing touches on The Amber Ring these last couple weeks, I figured I’d also better throw together a full synopsis for it.

Synopses are kind of a drag.

Not because they’re hard to write – I’ve had more than my fair share of practice summarizing.  It’s because they’re not always easy to keep exciting.  Maintaining something of the flavor and tone of your work while drying it up to its basic elements can be a frustrating task.  I’m certain there are numerous others who can give better advice on the subject than I can, but since I’m here, and so, ostensibly, are you, I’ll go over some of the things I like to keep in mind.

There’s no real easy, short-cut way to approach the whole process, but here are a few points to ponder:

 

Tip of a fish

Synopsis Considerations

 

  • A synopsis is typically a two-to-eight page summary of the entire work – the big twists, the ending, everything (important).
  • The editor or agent you’re submitting to might have a specific requirement as to what constitutes a page, but if not, double-spaced 12-point Courier New with one inch margins is a good place to start.
  • The first paragraph is often best utilized in setting up the chief protagonist – who she is, and how she got to where she is when the story begins.  If you already have a pitch line, it might fit nicely in here.  The remaining paragraphs will then recount the events that constitute the story in the order in which they are presented.
  • At least to start with, only include details essential to understanding the main plot; subplots can be added in order of precedence if there is room left in your alloted space and it would make the summary stronger on the whole.
  • The manuscript to synopsis event space ratio can be wildly inconsistent.  Some scenes may take half a sentence, some half a page, depending on how much plot-essential material they contain.  Some scenes can be omitted altogether.
  • Use strong, descriptive, succinct language (because it’s that easy, right?  (>^-‘)> ).  Word economy is paramount.
  • It’s O.K. to be a little conversational; it can help to engage the reader.
  • If you need some ideas on summarizing, look up recaps for TV episodes, or pull up your favorite films on Wikipedia and read the plot sections.  These usually constitute what amounts to synopsis copy.
  • If you’re really stuck on a blank page, you can try zero-drafting (or better yet, dictating if you have speech-to-text software) your initial go by describing the story, stream-of-conscious, from start to finish as you would a good book or movie to a friend.  You can always edit the result up or down as needed, or scrap it and try again.
  • Cheat.  If page format isn’t directly specified, and you’re aiming for a certain length, tweak the margins and line spacing (but preferably not the font) to your advantage.
  • It doesn’t hurt to conclude the synopsis with a poetic statement that encapsulates some important thematic element from the story’s ending.
  • Have someone who has not read your work take a look at the finished synopsis, and ask them if the story when presented thus is easily followable, makes sense, and is free from superfluous material.

 

Ultimately, a synopsis just serves as a quick overview of a story’s plot to ensure that it’s coherent, original, and interesting.  It doesn’t have to be as brilliantly executed as the manuscript, but anything you can do within its limits to show off the promise of your work will surely be a point in your favor.

 

Bene scribete.