Cover reveal for my new series! VIRTUAL ARCANA

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


I'm so excited to reveal the cover for my new series, Virtual Arcana.
Ready? Here it is! Woo hoo! 
I love the cover because it represents the story so perfectly—a blend of old-fashioned and techy, romance and magic, reality and illusion, The Notebook meets The Matrix (with a sprinkling of The Giver). Some friends saw an early sneak peek and asked if the girl was real or a CGI (computer-generated image).  That put a huge smile on my face because that is the perfect question for this series.” *insert mischievous smile here*


I want to give huge thanks to my friend and talented cover designer, Steve Graham of  the INFINITY CREATIVE (www.TheInfinityCreative.com) for making my virtual reality-esque vision a beautiful reality. I mean, look at that font. Steve, you're a bad ass.

Virtual Arcana will release this fall serial style, meaning short episodes (averaging 15-20k) will be published frequently (official schedule TBA), instead of waiting 6-12 months between each long book in a trilogy.
Each episode will be named after one of the major arcana cards of a tarot deck.

Season 1- Episode List

0- The Fool
1-The Magician
2-The High Priestess
3-The Empress
4-The Emperor
5-The Hierophant
6- The Lovers

It’s an experiment for me as an author and for my readers. If Virtual Arcana develops a good following I’ll continue with season 2 and 3. That would mean 22 total episodes, one for each of the 22 major arcana tarot cards.

Summary of Virtual Arcana:

In a faraway future, Kelsey Zellar is starting her senior year at yet another school thanks to her twin sister’s troublesome obsession with outlawed virtual reality games.

Every school they’ve ever attended is pretty much the same: lunchroom drama, rich kids binging on enhancement candies, and classmates rallying for or against the government’s strict control over everything from entertainment privileges to caffeine consumption.

Unlike her sister, Kelsey follows the rules and keeps her nose out of trouble and politics while sniffing out her next flavored latte and favorite novel. But when Kelsey meets a charming book connoisseur, and accepts his offering of a tarot card, she takes the first step toward two new addictions: the guy of her dreams, and his illegal dealing of virtual escapes into her beloved storybooks.

Kelsey straddles the worlds of fiction and reality, but is she a fool for believing in her own happy ending?

I realize some of my readers don’t/won’t care for episodic storytelling, so of course there will be the option to wait until the first season is complete and read all the episodes straight through as one full-length novel. But I wanted to offer my new series as a serial for those readers who dislike waiting so long to read more.

To celebrate, I'm giving away EIGHT ebooks of the first episode: The Fool.
Open internationally.
Enter using the Rafflecopter below.



HEART & SOUL by Lee Strauss

Monday, July 7, 2014

Lee had me at "hot British guy." Just saying
Don't forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom of this post. Amazon gift cards! 


Introducing 


Heart & Soul




Heart & Soul is the third book in The Minstrel Series 

(This is a connected book series - while each book can stand alone, they are best enjoyed in sequence.)


ROMANCE. SUSPENSE. MUSIC. DANGER. HOT BRITISH GUY


She's heartbroken. He's heartless.

Gabriele Baumann-Smith is deliriously in love with her young husband Lennon.
Except, it turns out that Lennon Smith isn't his real name. In fact, he's full of secrets: a cottage on the southern British coast, an old girlfriend and... an identical twin brother.

Callum Jones—not his real name—can't believe his brother's widow came to England. He'd warned Mick—Lennon—that an inheritance could put the girl's life in danger, and he was right.

“Mrs. Smith” is the last thing Callum needs to worry about right now. She's beautiful, sure, takes his breath away at times. But when she looks at him, who does she see?

Gabriele's heart is battered and bruised. Can one brother fix what the other left behind? And will they live long enough to find out?



BUZZ for Heart & Soul

"...this took a turn for the spy/thriller genre, which surprised me, but still carried the strong romantic flavor and wonderful accompanying music, like the first two books. I think this is a great series and would recommend it to contemporary romance fans." Denise Jaden, author of Foreign Exchange

"Another great book by Lee! This one had action, wit and a forbidden love! Love the characters and their interaction with each other! Can't wait to see what she has in store for us next!" Tressa Sager, Amazon reviewer

"I don't want to give away what the danger is, but suffice it to say, it's a real and plausible threat. Gabrielle is a good leading lady. She doesn't back down from anything or anyone in this book, but she's still vulnerable, making her well-rounded and likable." J Harrell, Amazon reviewer

AMAZON | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | itunes | Google Play


Heart & Soul in Print


The Music fromThe Minstrel Series Volume 3 Heart & Soul


Featuring the author's daughter, Tasia Strauss!


Lee Strauss' thoughts on The Minstrel Series and Heart & Soul:

"My musician husband and I just randomly started talking about the idea of working on a project together - wouldn't it be great if we could collaborate and merge our two artistic worlds? Writing and Music? That was the seed that started the muse talking, and soon afterward The Minstrel Series was born!

For Heart & Soul, I knew I wanted to move the series from Germany to England (next to Ireland and Boston!) and that I needed a small coastal town not far from London. I used Google Earth to examine the British coastline to search for the perfect town and found it in Emsworth. Living in Germany part-time has its advantages and one of them is its proximity to England. My husband and I did a quick five day research trip. (It also came in handy for the next book, a Christmas novella set in London - stay tuned!)

Because of the musical aspect of this series, I'm always on the prowl for songs and singers. My connection to the singer-songwriter world via my musical husband has been a big advantage. My husband's musical genes have also been down to our kids, so it's exciting to involve my daughter Tasia in the project to be the singing voice of Gabriele."

Click HERE to read the first chapter of Heart & Soul. 

**One of the entry options will ask a question from the above chapter.


About The Minstrel Series:

The Minstrel Series is a collection of contemporary romance novels set in the singer/songwriter world. The books are companion novels, with shared settings and characters, but each is a complete stand-alone story with a HEA (happily ever after) and no cliffhangers!

The books include MP3 links to original music by talented Indie Artists, so you can hear the characters sing!

#1     Sun & Moon
#2     Flesh & Bone 
#3     Heart & Soul 
#3.5  Peace & Goodwill (Christmas Novella coming Fall 2014)

It also has its own FACEBOOK (link) page and its own BANDCAMP (link) page where you can listen to the original music associated with the books. Albums are also available on AMAZON.


About Lee Strauss:

Lee Strauss is the author of The Minstrel Series (contemporary romance), The Perception Series (young adult dystopian) and young adult historical fiction. She is the married mother of four grown children, three boys and a girl, and divides her time between British Columbia, Canada and Dresden, Germany. When she's not writing or reading she likes to cycle, hike and do yoga. She enjoys traveling (but not jet lag >:0), soy lattes, red wine and dark chocolate.






ELEMENTAL RUSH & ELEMENTAL HUNGER

Wednesday, June 18, 2014



Love some elements and love me some Elana! 
Have you heard about Elana Johnson's new releases?
Check it out!
 

About Elemental Rush: Eighteen-year-old Adam Gillman has trained for twelve years to earn a coveted spot on the Supreme Elemental’s elite sentry squad. His brother, Felix, is the commander, but Adam is still thrilled when his official assignment to serve Alexander Pederson comes. 
He moves into nicer quarters and can stop getting up at four a.m. to complete his mandated work out time. He still rises early though, because he needs the solitude of early morning to practice his airmaking Element—something that Adam has kept secret from everyone, even Felix, because he can’t be both an Airmaker and a sentry. 

When Alex assigns him to kill a group of rogue Elementals, he balks at completing his mission for the first time. See, his only friend is Isaiah Hawking, and he’s the Earthmover on the accused Council. When faced with the prospect of killing him, Adam finds he can’t do it. 


He’s well trained in assassination, but he thought he’d be murdering bad guys—not innocents. 


When Alex buries the Elemental Academy—and kills over one thousand Elementals—in a fit of rage, Adam’s loyalty cracks. When he discovers that Alex is really a woman, and his brother’s lover, he defects. He hops from city to city, from Elemental school to Elemental school, always escaping only minutes before Felix can embed a knife in his heart or a tsunami can make a classroom his watery grave.


He tries to fight back, but he’s just one Airmaster with exceptional tracking skills. He does his best to warn those in danger, but as the last Elemental school goes up in flames, he knows he needs to get some real firepower on his side. 


ELEMENTAL RUSH is a prequel novella to the full-length futuristic fantasy novel, ELEMENTAL HUNGER, which is also available now.

Find this novella on Goodreads, Amazon, Smashwords, iTunes, Kobo, and Wattpad


About Elemental Hunger: The second installment in the Elemental series, a new futuristic fantasy for young adults and new adults, ELEMENTAL HUNGER is a full-length novel.

Sixteen-year-old Gabriella Kilpatrick can shoot fire from her hands, which would be great if she didn’t get blamed for a blazing inferno that kills 17 schoolmates. When Gabby is commanded to Manifest her Element, everyone knows what she is: a genetic abnormality. Not to mention guilty.


So she does two logical things to survive.

1. She runs.
2. She hacks off her hair to assume a new role—that of “Gabe”, because in her world, only boys are Firemakers.

Not only does she have to act like a guy, she has to pretend to know everything a Firemaker should know. When Gabby meets Airmaster Adam Gillman, he believes her act and pledges to serve on “Gabe’s” Council. But Adam has the mark of a sentry and spent years obeying Alex, the Supreme Elemental. And Alex wants Gabby-the-genetic-freak dead and gone before she can gather the magical protection of a full Council.


With Adam’s lies that sound like truths and rumors that Alex isn’t really a Firemaker—or a man—Gabby sets out to charter a Council of her own. In order to uncover the truth, Gabby will have to learn who she can trust, how to control her own power, and most of all, how to lead a Council of Elementals, most of whom have more control over their power than she does. If she can’t, she’ll find herself just like those 17 schoolmates: burned and six feet under.


Look for the third and final installment, ELEMENTAL RELEASE, an Elemental novella, coming on July 2, 2014.

Find this novel on Goodreads, Amazon, Smashwords, iTunes, B&N, and Kobo


About Elana: Elana Johnson is the author of the Possession series, which includes full-length novels POSSESSION, SURRENDER, and ABANDON, and short stories REGRET (ebook only) and RESIST (free). She is also the author of ELEVATED, a young adult contemporary romance novel-in-verse.

Her novella, ELEMENTAL RUSH, began a new futuristic fantasy series. ELEMENTAL HUNGER, a full-length novel, is the second part of the story. The series will conclude with ELEMENTAL RELEASE, the final novella, which will release on July 2, 2014.

Elana wishes she could experience her first kiss again, tell the mean girl where to shove it, and have cool superpowers like reading minds and controlling fire. To fulfill her desires, she writes young adult novels. She runs a personal blog on publishing and is a founding author of the QueryTracker blog, a regular contributor to The League of Extraordinary Writers, and a co-organizer of WriteOnCon.

Find her on FacebooktwittertumblrWattpad, or her blog.

OCEANS DEEP!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


Sunday, June 8, was #WorldOceansDay!
OceansDeep_box

To celebrate, ten bestselling young adult authors (including me!) created a collection of romantic "sea reads" called #OceansDeep. This boxed set has 12 full-length young adult novels (2500 pages!) that celebrate the sun and sea! They're full of mermaids and surfers, lifeguards and dolphins, sand and waves. These books span a variety of genres including science fiction, fantasy, contemporary and mythology, but they all have one thing in common: they leave readers more in love with the ocean than they were before.  

Lani Wendt Young - Telesa
Elle Strauss - Seaweed
Kristen Day - Forsaken
Karen Amanda Hooper - Tangled Tides
Amber Garr - Promises & Betrayal
Cheri Lasota - Artemis Rising
Heather Allen - Just Breathe
Nikki Godwin - Chasing Forever Down
Leigh Talbert Moore - Dragonfly & Undertow
Amy Evans - Clicks

Cover by Starla Huchton
Formatting by Emily Mah Tippett
It's an entire summer's worth of beach reads for $3.99  and all profits will go to TheOceanProject to further the mission of environmental education and ocean conservation. The theme of this years event is together we have the power to protect the ocean.  The Oceans Deep collection does that one word, one page, one story at a time. Because while facts may change people's minds, fiction can change their hearts. 


Buy Links: Amazon  /  bn.com  /  iBooks / Kobo

Enter the rafflecopter to win more books and other prizes too, and please help spread the word about OceansDeep.



ESSENCE by Lisa Ann O'Kane!

Friday, June 6, 2014

This past Tuesday, I had the privilege of attending the launch party for author Lisa Ann O'Kane's debut novel, ESSENCE at one of my favorite bookstores, Inkwood Books of Tampa. 
 
 
Wine, food, books, and an adorable author reading the word breast and nipple out loud while blushing and apologizing to the audience for her embarrassment. It was awesome.
I'm always so impressed when authors do a reading. Lisa earned bonus points for choosing a scene that made her blush (with her parents in the room!) Although I've done a few book signings, I've lucked out by NOT having to read out loud in front of a crowd. I am sure I would stutter and stumble and probably die of nervousness, but Lisa handled herself beautifully, and the scene she read had me wanting to slip and slide into her story. (You'll have to read the book to appreciate that last statement.) 

It was my first time meeting Lisa in real life, and although she was always sweet and lovely in all of our email conversations, she was even lovelier in person. Yay for new local author friends!

 Huge congrats to Lisa on her debut! 
*throws confetti*
And now here's all the info so you too can become a fan of Lisa and ESSENCE. 
 Autumn escaped a cult, but now she realizes she's fallen into another. 
Growing up in San Francisco's Centrist Movement, sixteen year-old Autumn Grace has always believed emotions--adrenaline, endorphins, even happiness--drain your Essence and lead to an early death. But her younger brother's passing and a run-in with a group of Outsiders casts her faith into question. 

Ryder Stone, the sexy, rebellious leader of the Outsiders, claims Essence drain is nothing more than a Centrist scare tactic -- and he can prove it.

 Autumn follows Ryder to his Community of adrenaline junkies and free spirits in Yosemite National Park, and they introduce her to a life of adventure, romance, sex, drugs and freedom. But as she discovers dark secrets beneath the Community's perfect exterior, she realizes the more she risks in search of the perfect rush, the further she has to fall.
Buy your copy now! 



Lisa Ann O'Kane is a young adult author and former vagabond who once camped out in Yosemite National Park for an entire summer, an experience that inspired her debut novel ESSENCE. Her background is in zookeeping and environmental education, and she has been kicked, cornered, bitten and chased by nearly every animal she has ever loved. She currently resides in Florida, and she is now a huge fan of shooting stars, indoor plumbing and keeping both her feet planted firmly on the trail.







REBORN by Cherie Reich

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


I'm proud and excited to participate in Cherie Reich's tour for her new release, Reborn. I read this book and I absolutely loved it. For those of you who love fantasy, you don't want to miss this one. 

Are you ready to challenge Fate?



An Excerpt from Chapter Two of Reborn

A silhouette of a woman crossed in front of the second floor window closest to the fire. My stomach jumped to my throat. I’d seen her in my vision. Why wasn’t she running for her life? She shifted back and forth behind the curtains. I’d been so concerned about Vert I’d forgotten about her. How could I stand by and do nothing? “There’s someone still inside the inn.”

Dad, the priests, and the townspeople didn’t hear me or notice her. They continued to pass water pails to the next person. The blaze crept closer to her room. The fire found the wood as tasty as Mom’s fresh-made bread. Would the roof cave in? I gritted my teeth. Indecision would get the woman killed. I couldn’t let that happen.

I ran toward the inn.

“Yssa! What are you doin’?” Tym called behind me, but I didn’t slow down.

Several people tumbled from the inn’s doors, including Erditha.

“My inn, oh, my inn!” Erditha clutched her hair.

If she wasn’t so mean, I would feel sorry for her.

Tym snatched my arm and spun me around before I could take two steps inside the building. “We have to get out of here.”

“I can’t, Tym. There’s a woman up inside.” I jerked my arm from his grasp and motioned toward the stairs. My heart pounded. In my vision, Vert had rushed to save her. He promised he wouldn’t, but that vow would destroy her. “There’s no time.”

“I’m comin’ with you.”

I didn’t argue. If she was injured, I would need Tym’s help.

We skirted around the last few patrons and climbed the stairs. Smoke covered the top floor and drifted down the steps toward us. Had the woman left with the others? I hadn’t seen her among the people we’d passed by. When we arrived at the top of the stairs, the billowing smoke obscured my sight. I tasted ashes and coughed as crushing heat pulsed around us.

“Get low.” Tym dropped down, and I followed.

We crawled toward the end of the hallway. My eyes burned, and I lifted the end of my dress to my nose. The smoke swirled thicker than Erditha’s potato soup as we arrived at the last door.

I touched my hand against the wood and found it cool. The fire hadn’t taken over the room yet. I pushed open the door and peered inside.

A woman twisted from the window and glided toward me. The dark gray plume parted around her, as if it wouldn’t deign to mar her fiery red dress. Golden hair flowed down her frame, and blue eyes—like swirls of twilight—focused upon mine. A wicked grin split across her mouth. Her lips curled around the word “Prophetess.”

Laughter echoed in my head and drowned out the crackling flames overhead. I winced and grasped my ears.

When I looked up again, she was gone.
 To save a kingdom, a prophetess must challenge Fate.

On the day of Yssa’s death and rebirth, the god Apenth chose her as the Phoenix Prophetess.

Sea serpents and gods endanger the young prophetess’s journey and sour the omens. Yssa is cursed instead of blessed, and her duties at the Temple of Apenth prove it. She spends her days reading dusty scrolls, which does nothing to help her forget Tym, the boy back home. But the annoying yet gorgeous ferryman’s son Liam proves to be a distraction she can’t predict, even though he rarely leaves her alone for two sand grains.
 

Her boring temple life screeches to a halt when visions of her parents’ murders consume her. Yssa races across an ocean to stop the future. If she can’t change Fate, she’ll refuse to be the Phoenix Prophetess any longer. Fate, however, has other plans for her and the kingdom. Yssa must either accept her destiny or fight to change Fate.


Available in Ebook and Print!
To purchase:

Click here to add on Goodreads.

The authors of Untethered Realms and I are giving away over $50 worth of books to one lucky winner. The giveaway is open internationally.

A self-proclaimed bookworm, Cherie Reich is a speculative fiction writer and library assistant living in Virginia. Her short stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies, and her books include the horror collection Nightmare, a space fantasy novella collection titled Gravity, and the fantasy series The Foxwick Chronicles and The Fate Challenges. Reborn is her debut novel. She is Vice President of Valley Writers and a member of the Virginia Writers Club and Untethered Realms. For more information, please visit her website.

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