Cover Reveal: 1970, The Seven Book One


1970, The Seven Book #1
Author: Sarah M. Cradit
World: Saga of Crimson & Clover
Designation: Crimson & Clover Origin Series
Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Family Drama, Paranormal, Historical Fantasy
Cover Designer: Sarah M. Cradit
Editor: Emily A. Lawrence

Book Synopsis:

Seven Siblings. Seven Years. Seven Spellbinding Novels.

New Orleans. The seven Deschanel siblings live with their long-suffering mother in a historic Garden District mansion. Each of them unique. Each of them born with a gift. In some cases, a gift they wish they could give back.

When August Deschanel died, he left his wife, Irish Colleen, with more than seven children to raise. She inherited a job she was never prepared for: bringing up his heirs in a world she doesn’t understand. She’d never seen true magic, not before marrying into the most prominent-and mysterious-family in New Orleans. Now, she can’t escape it.

Irish Colleen knows a terrible secret. Her youngest, a prophet, has seen a future that is unavoidable: the Deschanels will not leave 1970 without losing one of the seven. She knows only that it will happen, but not when, how… or to whom.

Charles, the playboy heir apparent. Augustus, the family fixer. Colleen, the unfailing pragmatist. Madeline, the bleeding heart. Evangeline, the genius. Maureen, the dreamer. Elizabeth, the tortured one.

One of her children must die, and Irish Colleen can do nothing to stop it.

Pre Order – Links

About Sarah

Sarah is the USA Today bestselling author of the Paranormal Southern Gothic series, The House of Crimson & Clover, born of her combined passion for New Orleans, and the mysterious complexity of human nature. Her work has been described as rich, emotive, and highly dimensional.
An unabashed geek, Sarah enjoys studying obscure subjects like the Plantagenet and Ptolemaic dynasties, and settling debates on provocative Tolkien topics such as why the Great Eagles are not Gandalf’s personal taxi service. Passionate about travel, Sarah has visited over twenty countries collecting sparks of inspiration (though New Orleans is where her heart rests). She’s a self-professed expert at crafting original songs to sing to her very patient pets, and a seasoned professional at finding ways to humiliate herself (bonus points if it happens in public). When at home in Oregon, her husband and best friend, James, is very kind about indulging her love of fast German cars and expensive lattes.

 

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Home House of Crimson & Clover Prequels $.99 Through 6/2 Only!

For a limited time, get all three prequel stories to the bestselling House of Crimson & Clover series for only $.99!

Collection Includes: The Storm and the Darkness, Shattered, and Shame

iBooks 

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Her talent for creating atmosphere rivals Daphne du Maurier. This is modern Gothic with fierce smarts. Can’t say it enough. I loved this book.

– Christopher Rice, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Heavens Rise

New Garden District Map- Designed by Raven Quinn- Available in A Tempest of Discovery!

ATempestofDiscovery_ebookMany of my readers know that the little touches are part of what makes the experience in the world of Crimson & Clover. My website has an entire section of bonus content which grows regularly, and most of the books have family trees and other fun additions. I do this as an author because it’s what I love as a reader.

One thing I’ve wanted for years is to create a series of maps that complement the series. From real places (like New Orleans, Paris) to those that unfurled from the dark corners of my imagination (Farjhem, Summer Island), the precision of each in relation to the books exists mostly in my imagination. If I’m doing my job, readers can come close in their own visualizations, but that still isn’t the same as having something you can reference.

I searched the web for stock photography I could purchase licenses for (for those places which really do exist, that is!), but found nothing that fit the bill. That’s when I realized that one of the most talented people I know has made some incredibly fun maps for others– Raven Quinn.

Full disclosure, I love this woman to death. We’re soul mates on multiple levels. But business is business and I would never have chosen someone who I did not think could do this appropriate to my vision.

I chose The Garden District for this first project because this has been the central hub of the Deschanels and Sullivans all along. There are so many other places of importance, from the French Quarter to River Road, and we will get there. But this felt the most appropriate starting point.

Without further adieu, here is the brilliance Raven produced:

Sarah Map 041918print

The map does not include every single character who lives in the Garden District, but it does contain locations for key properties, characters, and other locales.

The map will be live in the bonus content section of my website in the next day or so, for readers to expand and zoom in as they read.

If you haven’t yet picked up your copy of A Tempest of Discovery, the updated ebook version should be available 4/22. Paperbacks on Amazon will also be available 4/22, and paperbacks on other retailers within the next couple of weeks. In the future, I’ll also be looking to release a special edition collector’s paperback that includes the full-color version.

While this map will be available in the Midnight Dynasty series books only for now, the locations are relevant for House of Crimson & Clover as well as The Seven.

Meanwhile, check out my girl Raven Quinn. Art is only her side hustle (which is pretty incredible given how ridiculously talented she is). She’s actually a mega talented singer/songwriter, and if you like artists such as Shirley Manson or Amy Lee, you’ll absolutely love her. She’s also on Instagram and Facebook.

Happy Reading!

Sarah

6 Accomplishments, 6 Learnings, 6 Goals

GoodBye-2017-Welcome-2018-HD-Photos-1024x1024 (1)As 2017 came to a close, I found myself thinking, “this isn’t my best year. Not my biggest year.” But certainly it was a year of growth, change, and big pivots. The market has shifted, as has my focus. Every year, I use my learnings of the prior to inform the next. 2017’s work has set me on a whole new trajectory, and I can’t wait to see where it goes.

6 Accomplishments of 2017

  1. Hit the Top 100 (Top 50, and 20 as well) on Amazon three times in the US on my own titles. Hit the Top 10 in AU, UK, CA, and IT. Also, Top 10 at Barnes & Noble and Kobo, and Top 50 at iBooks. This is on par with my performance of 2016 as well.
  2. Finished the House of Crimson & Clover series. This was something I never thought I would do. 12 volumes, 13 lagniappes, and multiple boxed sets. But closing this door led to the opening of the broader Saga of Crimson & Clover, where the world continues in different ways.
  3. Launched the Saga of Crimson & Clover. Created unique branding and outlined three new series with releases in 2018, all within the same world. Endless possibilities await, and I could not be more excited.
  4. House of Dusk, House of Dawn Was a Top 10 Kobo Cover of 2017. This wasn’t something I submitted to. Kobo picked from among the 2017 releases and then notified those authors on the list. I was first a Top 10 Sci-Fi/Fantasy pick, and then as voting narrowed down, I made it into the final Top 10 for the year.
  5. Broadened horizons. In addition to getting more of my books into audio this year, I also welcomed opportunities to partner with Nook, iBooks, and Kobo. House of Dusk, House of Dawn, for example, was invited to an exclusive early release with Nook.
  6. Research trips add more exciting locales to Crimson & Clover. I always visit New Orleans each year, but in 2017 I also went to Paris, which became a key setting in my upcoming release, A Tempest of Discovery. In 2018, I look ahead to a spring trip to Italy.

6 Learnings in 2017

  1. Most paid advertising, with few exceptions, is DOA. The days of stacking tons of newsletter-based paid ads on a sale or new release seem to be over. Most simply do not have the ROI, and as readers get newsletter fatigue, they are narrowing down what they subscribe to and read. This makes services like Bookbub even more elusive and important.
  2. Facebook is entering the realm of impossible for reaching anyone. First, it was the pay walls. Now, it’s the unforgiving algorithms. This isn’t a debate on whether Facebook should be making it harder or not, just an observation that it becomes ever more important to find a way to engage on other platforms.
  3. Multi-author boxed sets used to be a key strategy for my publishing goals, both in terms of reaching new readers, as well as revenue generation. With the market oversaturated with these sets, my titles doing much more than sitting on someone’s Kindle is idealistic at best. If I do enter into one in the future, it will have something clear and marked that sets it apart from the competition.
  4. Thinking like readers has never been more important. Marketing books tends to follow the pattern of “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” Just as there are trends in genres, there are trends in cover design, in marketing techniques, etc. Because of this, the way to emerge ahead of the trends is to think like a reader. What grabbed your eye? Why? Think beyond books, too. What made you stop and look in other forms of media?
  5. Need be more present and accessible. Due to the growing limitations of places like Facebook, it’s easy to just neglect to spend the time. But, Facebook or elsewhere, technology continues to provide more ways to be available and accessible. Podcasts, for example, or even live videos. The key is finding ways to make those channels engaging, rather than just one more thing.
  6. Your tribe is so important. Every year I’m reminded of this, but every year it bears repeating. The authors, readers, bloggers, etc. I am close to have been beacons of light in dark times. Few people know your struggles the way another artist does. Holding on to them, supporting them as they’ve supported you, is a key element of turning a solitary profession into a community.

6 Goals for 2018

  1. Launch 3 brand new series. With the pivot away from a single series into a universe of stories, I have three new series launching in 2018, all different genres but within the same world. I have releases planned for January, March, and the summer (book one for each), and will shift to the second book in each series in the second half of the year.
  2. Continue to strengthen my audio presence. Most of The House of Crimson & Clover is now in audio, thanks to my lovely narrator LC Kane. Want to finish this series and shift to the new ones releasing in 2018.
  3. Look into a marketplace on my website. Some authors have shifted their readers to a marketplace of their own for ebook retail. As Amazon strengthens their market stance and competitors get pushed back, it becomes more important for us to have some control over our digital inventory.
  4. More focused spending. With paid advertising via newsletters and social media waning, it’s time to pivot into other mediums. Find what works. Test, trial and error. Abandon what isn’t paying off, and embrace what is.
  5. Find ways to be more accessible without taking time away from writing. This is always the challenge, right? But I believe that it’s not the time you spend, but how you spend it. Effective uses of time are never a waste. A ten minute podcast might do more for reaching readers than 10 minutes of Facebook posts.
  6. Look to 2019, 2020, and beyond. There are three series coming, but there are more burning in the back of my mind. Need to get them outlined and on the calendar, and look for ways to continue to expand the world in a way that appeals to new readers but satisfies old ones.

 

What are your accomplishments and learnings from 2017? How are you looking ahead to 2018?

Happy New Year!

House of Dusk, House of Dawn A Top 10 Kobo Cover of the Year!

KWL_BestCover_Finalist.jpg

Thank you so much to those of you who voted “House of Dusk, House of Dawn,” from the Top 10 Fantasy/Sci-Fi list all the way to the Top 10 of 2017 finals. The cover didn’t win, but I sincerely mean this when I say I am beyond honored to have made it into the finals. Top 10 of how many thousands of books released? Humbled. Truly. Thank you!

HouseofDuskDawn_ebook

 

House of Dusk, House of Dawn is a Kobo Top Cover of 2017!

HouseofDuskDawn_ebookI am absolutely humbled and thrilled to announce that Kobo has named “House of Dusk, House of Dawn” as a Top 10 Fantasy/Sci-Fi Cover of 2017! This is such a tremendous honor. Many of you know that in addition to writing the books in this series (duh), I also designed all the covers.

Voting for this category is open for the next few days. If “House of Dusk, House of Dawn” is also a favorite of yours, please consider taking a moment to vote. The site is mobile-friendly and is a quick as a single click to vote.

You can vote here.

The Top 3 from this round will go on to the next round. I’ll keep everyone posted on how far this one goes!

Sarah

Breaking Down the Playlist: House of Dusk, House of Dawn

HouseofDuskDawn_ebookMany authors create playlists for their books, filled with the songs that inspired scenes, characters, or storylines. Throughout the House of Crimson & Clover series, I’ve shared my playlists for the books on my website. Some of these songs were helpful background noise. Others are at least partly responsible for how a book turned out.

As I wrap up the final House of Crimson & Clover book (I’m still not used to typing those words), I’ve created a playlist filled with songs new to the series, as well as those that played pivotal roles in the creation of earlier books.

Here’s some “behind the curtain” notes behind how I chose a few of the songs that appear on the playlist for the final book in the series. The full playlist is at the bottom if you want to add it to your Spotify.

“House of Dusk, House of Dawn” Playlist Notes

Imagine- A Perfect Circle: Maynard James Keenan is one of my favorite artists, and his songs have appeared throughout the playlists for this series. I thought it only fitting to choose one of my favorite covers of one of my favorite songs for the playlist of the final book. The idealistic hopefulness of this song also resonates as this book begins with every single character part of a fight for a better world and a better life.

The Night We Met- Lord Huron: Both the chords and words of this song have a way of sinking deep into your soul. As soon as I heard  it, I knew it would be the backdrop for a particularly difficult chapter. “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do, haunted by the ghost of you,” is the kind of line I wished I’d written myself. I don’t want to spoil anything, but you’ll know when you get there.

White Blank Page- Mumford and Sons: I wrote all of “Asunder” to this song on repeat (much to the chagrin of my long-suffering husband). Asunder primarily tells the story of Jacob and Amelia’s separation, which was layered with so many complexities and complications. The powerhouse of emotion behind the vocals on this song put me in Jacob’s frame of mind, and kept me there, heart clenched tight, stomach in knots, all the way to the finish.

Where is my Mind?- Maxence Cyrin: I wrote a majority of Nicolas’ scenes in “The Illusions of Eventide” to the Pixies version of this song. Nicolas has always been the character in the series most vivid to me. The most loud. Which is interesting, because in many ways he’s the least grounded. He floated through most of the books, lost, confused, and on the verge either a total meltdown or complete enlightenment. Frank Black’s warbling vocals captured Nicolas’ frame of mind quite well, but I love this calmer version as a way to bring things full circle for the character.

I Go to the Barn Because I Like the- Band of Horses: Finn is not an innocent character, but I have always felt from him, and written into him, a sense of innocence. He is most vulnerable in life when he finds himself standing before Ana, heart in hand. This song perfectly captures that sense in Finn that he is out his element in the face of something he has never wanted more, or needed more, in his life. I wrote most of his scenes in “Bound” to this song, and many in the books that followed.

Everlong- Foo Fighters: This is, of course, the song that brought Jacob and Amelia together, in a scene that happens prior to the start of the series, but is revisited several times on the page (for the first time in “Midnight Dynasty”). I chose this song because I loved it, but also because I have had this recurring dream for years that I’m pulled onstage at a FF concert for a drum solo on this song. I air drum this song in the car more than I should. Writers give their characters little gifts all the time. I thought, who better than to give this to than Jacob?

Dreams- Cranberries: Since this song came out, when I was in middle school, it has always represented happiness even in dark times. A sense of joy after a long storm. As if saying, with a smile, “ahh… at last.” I always knew this would appear somewhere at the end of the series.

A Praise Chorus- Jimmy Eat World: Simply, this song is what gave me the title for the series. I knew what I wanted to convey- the sense of two powerful families, two powerful dynasties- but struggled for months with the right title. This song was on my playlist and one day the words “clicked.” I know Jimmy Eat World borrowed “crimson and clover, over and over,” but I still owe them credit for the moment everything came together.

A few other notes. Alt-J has played a huge part in setting the stage for the second half of this series, and “Intro” is one of my favorites of theirs. It feels fitting as a start to the book. Pendulum is one of my favorite electronic groups, and “Witchcraft” has the right amount of energy to jump us straight into the biggest battle of the series. But every single one of these songs was chosen strategically, and their placement in the list is equally intentional.

You can find the playlist below on Spotify:

Pre-order House of Dusk, House of Dawn now:

In the end is our beginning.
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2ueOkxx