It’s only .99 cents!!! – IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGON KING


In anticipation of BANE OF THE DRAGON KING’s release (Book 3 in the Chronicles of Fallhollow trilogy), the novel that started it all — IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGON KING — is currently on sale for .99!!  If you’ve been putting off reading this before, now is the perfect opportunity to get your own copy and find out how it all began. And you can’t beat the price!

Unfortunately for some of you, this sale is for Kindle only, but even if you don’t have a Kindle reader, you can still read it by downloading the free Kindle app for your desktop, tablet or smartphone.

You can find the link on Amazon here.

Would you like to read a sample of the book? Click here.

Please feel free to share with your friends, family and dragon lovers everywhere!  I really hope you enjoy reading IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGON KING.

As a thank you for checking out my book, here is a YA fantasy freebie for you.

Magic, Murder, & Romance – A Resurrection Spell Gone Wrong

Two months after dying, seventeen-year-old witch Graylee Perez wakes up in her twin sister Charlene’s body. Until Gray finds a way back inside her own body, she’s stuck being Charlene every twenty-hour hours. Her sister has left precise instructions on how Gray should dress and behave. Looking like a prep isn’t half as bad as hanging out with Charlene’s snotty friends and gropey boyfriend.

The “normals” of McKinley High might be quick to write her behavior off as post-traumatic stress, but warlock Raj McKenna is the only person who suspects Gray has returned from the dead.

Now Gray has to solve the mystery of her death while working out a way to disentangle herself from Charlene’s body before she disappears for good.

Grab your free copy here.

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J. Keller Ford talks about dragons, and her novel, IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGON KING in her interview on The Authors Show


Recently, I had the pleasure of recording a radio interview with Linda Thompson on The Authors Show about my novel, IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGON KING. I had a lot of fun, and surprisingly, I really didn’t mess up that much. The folks at the Authors Show were wonderful and Linda Thompson was a delight to work with and very positive.

The interview will be live until midnight on December 6, 2017. Please have a listen, and if you have any questions, please feel free to ask away either here, on FB, Goodreads, Twitter or any of other social media sites where I hang out. The link to the interview is here, and I hope you enjoy.

https://wnbnetworkwest.com/WnbAuthorsShow2.html

For additional information as well as purchase links, please visit http://www.j-keller-ford.com/

 

 

2016 – A great year for 16 debut novels (with one extra to grow on)


I am so looking forward to 2016, for it is this new year when my debut novel, IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGON KING, will find its way into the world.

September 6 to be exact, so mark your calendars because it’s going to be an awesome day.  I’m already planning to take that day off from work. I’m going to celebrate. I’m going to have a party and maybe even a book signing. Don’t know. Haven’t gotten that far yet, but whatever happens, it’s going to be a glorious day. After so many years and what seems like hundreds of edits, my words will be in the hands of readers everywhere!!  Maybe, if I’m lucky, maybe it will be in a bookstore here and there. Squeeee!!!! Just the thought makes me all giddy.

What’s it about you ask? Well, I suppose now would be a good time to share a bit.  Unfortunately, I can’t release the cover yet but I can give you the official blurb.

In the Shadow of the Dragon King

Seventeen-year-old, Eric, is a kick-butt squire to the most revered knight in Fallhollow. Well he would be if Sir Trogsdill allowed him to do anything even remotely awesome. Determined to prove his worth, Eric sets out to find the mythical paladin summoned to protect the realm from the evil lurking nearby.

Sixteen-year-old, David, spends his days collecting school honors, winning archery tournaments, and trying not to fall in love with his scrappy best friend, Charlotte.

Right when things start to get interesting, he is whisked away to the magical realm of Fallhollow where everyone thinks he’s some sort of paladin destined to fulfill a two-hundred-year-old prophecy. He’s supposed to help kill a dragon with some sort of magic key. The same key that happens to adorn the neck of an annoying squire who’s too wrapped up in proving himself to be much help to anyone.

With egos as big as the dragon they need to destroy, Eric and David must get over themselves, or watch everything they know and love, burn.

Doesn’t it sound awesome!!!  Nod your head. Yes.  Yes it does. You will add it to your Goodreads list and purchase one or many copies (can you feel me using my Jedi mind-trick on you?)  Trust me. This is the book you’re looking for. 🙂

I also have some tips on some other books you’ll be looking for.  15 of them are debut novels and come out in 2016. One is the 2nd book of a series that has teens and young adult fans waiting with baited breath. Are you ready? Here they are in order of release:

FIRSTS by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
Thomas Dunne Books/St Martin’s Press
January 5, 2016

Laurie’s Website
Mark as to-read on Goodreads

(I’ve read an ARC of this one and it is fantabulous! Not kidding!)

 


UNDERWATER by Marisa Reichardt
Macmillan/Farrar, Straus, & Giroux
January 12, 2016

Marisa’s Website
Mark as to-read on Goodreads

 

 


THE GIRL WHO FELL by Shannon M. Parker
Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse
March 1, 2016

Shannon’s Website
Mark as to-read on Goodreads

 

 


INTO THE DIM by Janet B. Taylor
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
March 1, 2016

Janet’s Website
Mark as to-read on Goodreads

(Just finished the ARC of this. OMGosh!! Amazing!!)

 


MY SENIOR YEAR OF AWESOME
by Jennifer DiGiovanni
Georgia McBride Media Group/Swoon Romance YA
March 2016

Jennifer’s Website
Mark as to-read on Goodreads

 


ASHES IN THE SKY by Jennifer M. Eaton
Month9Books
March 15, 2016

Jennifer’s Website
Mark as to-read on Goodreads

 

 


CROSSING THE LINE by Meghan Rogers
Penguin/Philomel
April 12, 2016

Meghan’s Website
Mark as to-read on Goodreads

 

 


SUMMER OF SLOANE by Erin L. Schneider
Disney-Hyperion
May 3, 2016

Erin’s Website
Mark as to-read on Goodreads

 

 


SUFFER LOVE by Ashley Herring Blake
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
May 3, 2016

Ashley’s Website
Mark as to-read on Goodreads

(Read the ARC. It’s a must read for fans of contemporary YA)

 


THE WAY BACK TO YOU by Michelle Andreani
(co-written by Mindi Scott)
HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books
May 3, 2016

Michelle’s Website
Mark as to-read on Goodreads

 

 


SUMMER OF SUPERNOVAS by Darcy Woods
Random House/Crown BFYR
May 10, 2016

Darcy’s Website
Mark as to-read on Goodreads

 


 

 

HOW IT ENDS by Catherine Lo
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
June 7, 2016

Catherine’s Website
Mark as to-read on Goodreads

(I’ve read the ARC of this one.  Incredible YA contemporary!)

 


GEMINI by Sonya Mukherjee
Simon & Schuster
July 26, 2016

Sonya’s Website
Mark as to-read on Goodreads

 

 


POPPY MAYBERRY, THE MONDAY
by Jennie K. Brown
Month9Books/Tantrum Books
September 13, 2016

Jennie’s Website
Mark as to-read on Goodreads

 


FEAR THE DROWNING DEEP by Sarah Glenn Marsh
Skyhorse/Sky Pony
September 2016

Sarah’s Website
Mark as to-read on Goodreads

 


GENESIS GIRL by Jennifer Bardsley
Georgia McBride Media Group/Month9Books
September 27, 2016

Jennifer’s Website
Mark as to-read on Goodreads

Christmas Giveaway!


christmas treeHi Everyone!!!

Today is a really good day because tomorrow kicks off my very first Christmas Santa Giveaway!!

Why am I doing this?

Well, #1 reason is because it’s a Christmas giveaway! Who doesn’t like getting Christmas presents, eh?

#2 reason is to say thanks for tagging along with me this year, commenting on my blog, and just being your super-duper selves!!

#3 reason – it’s fun to give away stuff!

What’s up for grabs?

There are 3 prizes:

3rd Prize:  a $5 Starbucks Gift card

2nd Prize:  $15 of Starbucks Gift cards

Grand Prize:

  • Undisclosed number of YA books signed by the authors (it’s a Christmas Santa surprise, but I can tell you it will be between 3 and 5 books)
  • Swag from several authors
  • a special gift from moi

How can you enter to win?

Simply follow the instructions in the rafflecopter link below.

 

Rafflecopter!

 

Oh, and make sure you share with everyone!!

Who is eligible to win!

The giveaway is only open to residents of the continental United States (sorry folks, but shipping outside the U.S. is expensive.)

Contest begins November 20, 2015 and ends December 10, 2015. Winners to be announced December 11. Prizes to be sent to winners no later than December 14, 2015.

Good luck and

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!!

A fictitious knight reveals 5 secrets to having honor


What does it mean to ‘have honor’? Is it something real, or is it more like an idea, a notion based on a set of beliefs? How does one obtain honor? Are we born with it, or do we learn it?

Read on to find out what Sir Trogsdill Domnall, the most revered knight in my novel, IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGON KING, has to say about the subject.

***

Me:  “Sir Trogsdill, thank you for sparing a few moments to talk to me. I know from talking to the other knights in the Order you do not like these sorts of interviews, but I couldn’t think of anyone else who could answer my questions with complete honesty.”

The knight leans to one side and props an elbow on the arm of the chair. His forefinger and thumb cradle the sharp angles of his face; the other three perch at his lips. Thick, brown hair falls in gentle waves to his collar. His piercing, peridot-green eyes lock onto mine, and I gulp as my stomach takes flight. I can tell he’s waiting for me to continue, but I’m incapable of speech. I am drowning in a sea of green. Part of me wants to run, but I can’t. I’m drawn to him in a way that defies explanation. He is a mystery, an enigma that commands respect. I take a deep breath to ease the pounding of my heart and then shift in my chair, ignoring the sweat pooling at the nape of my neck. Somehow I gather my thoughts and steady the tremble in my voice.

Me:  Sir Trogsdill, the word I hear most often to describe you is ‘honorable’. Would you say that is an appropriate word? How do you perceive yourself?”

Sir Trogsdill: “I believe I am honorable, at least I strive to be.” His deep voice vibrates the air. My nerves quiver. “As for how I perceive myself? I don’t waste the time thinking of it. I am who I am.”

Me:  “What does being honorable mean to you?”

The man leans forward, his hands clasped between his knees. His eyes remain fixed on mine, as if he’s trying to dive deep into my soul. I want to look away, but I can’t. I’m mesmerized. I’m a noodle. I am a victim to his captivating presence.

Sir Trogsdill:  “You ask an interesting question. Honor, to me, is not something a king or a lord bestows upon you, nor is it something you win at the end of a joust. It is solid. It is moral. We are all born with it, this capacity to be honorable. It is what we choose to do with our lives that keep us that way.”

Me:  “Would you mind elaborating a bit?”

Sir Trogsdill: “I am not sure how much clearer I can get.”

Me:  “I suppose what I want to know is if you feel honor is something we learn?”

Sir Trogsdill pressed his back into the overstuffed chair. “No, it’s not. It’s something that resides deep within us. Some of us have it. Some don’t.”

Me:  “But don’t you have a code of honor you must abide by? Aren’t many of those things learned?”

The man smiles, and my heart swells at the way it touches his eyes. He is handsome in ways I can’t pinpoint. I wonder if he knows it.

“My code? My lady, honor is more than a code. It is something intangible. Yes, knights take oaths to follow certain conventions such as serving our liege lord in faith and valor, or to protect the weak and defenseless. To refrain from wanton acts and protect a lady’s reputation, but honor goes beyond these acts.”

He looks away for a moment as if collecting his thoughts, then turns his gaze back to me. His features are strong, his eyes trusting and kind.

“Honor, my lady, is about integrity, unwavering dedication to one’s morals and standards. It means walking a difficult path, even if we must travel it alone, but we must because it is righteous and true. Honor is holding tight to your convictions when you know they are right, and letting them go when they are wrong. It is about putting another before oneself and striving for a life steeped in justice, loyalty, and fairness.”

Me:   “But who is to say what is just, loyal and fair? Your definitions of those may not be mine. Who is right and who is wrong?”

Sir Trogsdill:  “Honor is not a question of who is right and who is wrong, my lady. You asked me what it means to have honor.  If one stands and defends what they believe in with every fiber of their being, whether you agree with their cause or not, then they are honorable.”

Me:  “So by that token, you’re saying that people who are consumed by evil can also be honorable because they adhere to their convictions?”

Sir Trogsdill shakes his head. “No, that is not what I said. Honor and evil cannot exist together.”

Me:  “Why is that?”

Sir Trogsdill:  “Because having honor is to be selfless. As I said before, honor is about putting others before yourself. An honorable act is a selfless act. Evil, on the other hand, is based in self-gratification. Evil, by virtue of what it is, is not honorable. Therefore, those performing it are not honorable.”

I am touched by this man’s passion … and his wisdom. I can tell by the shifting of his legs and body, he’s getting restless, so I ask my last question.

Me:  “If you could give young people any advice about being honorable, what would you tell them?”

Sir Trogsdill counts on his fingers:  “One. Hold true to yourself. Two. Never lose faith in the spirit that guides you. Three. Do not let anyone sway you from your core beliefs. Four, turn your back on those who wish to destroy your sense of integrity, and five, stray away from those who disregard your values.”

Wow. Those are words we could all live by.  I stand and offer my hand to him.

Me:  “Thank you, Sir Trogsdill. That was an enlightening conversation. You have certainly given me plenty to think about.”

The knight stands, and I am dwarfed by his size, but instead of feeling insignificant, I am overcome by a sense of safety and compassion. He bows and kisses the back of my hand before departing the room. I watch as he leaves, noting the confidence in his walk, the strength in his demeanor, and my heart twinges again. What I would give to have half of the courage, poise, and assurance he has. I suppose it will  have to suffice knowing how honored I feel to have sat in his presence. I will never forget him. Ever.

***

So, what did you think? Do you agree with Sir Trogsdill or does ‘having honor’ mean something different to you? Please leave your comments below.

To learn more about IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGON KING, please visit my website at www.j-keller-ford.com and sign up for my newsletter. Once a month, I will divulge parts of my story that no one else will see unless they are signed up.  I hope to see you there.

If you are into YA epic fantasy stories of love, honor, faith, courage and sacrifice, please head over to my Goodreads page and click on that Want to Read button.

I hope you enjoyed this interview. Stay tuned for more to come.

Dragons! Oh how I hate and love them


Hi everyone. So sorry I’m late getting to this post. I’ve been dealing with two dragons, and I’ve had it up to my eyeballs with both of them! By the way, this is Charlotte from the novel IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGON KING.

Yeah, this book is named perfectly. We are constantly living in the shadow of this jerk face dragon named Einar. Peeps, you thought Smaug was big? Heh, he looks like a toy next to this disgusting blackish-purple fire-breathing wreck.

Picture if you will an animal so large it would easily span a football field. A hundred yards. Easily, and he’s probably about 2/3s as tall. He’s got horns and frills and these black scales that have this purple sheen. If he wasn’t so freaking nasty, he  might be kind of cool to look at, but to tell you the truth, I wish someone would kill him. He’s evil. Bad evil. And he’s protected by some ancient magic and there are only two things that can kill him.  Of course, I have to be in the presence of both of them, which makes me dragon fodder. Grrrrr.

On the other hand, I know this really nice dragon. His name is Mirith and he’s the strangest creature I’ve ever seen. I mean, I don’t know if I would have classified him as a dragon when I first saw him, but he definitely is. He’s got these really pretty turquoise scales and a very interesting mane of feathers. He’s just so bizarre, but he’s safe to be around and really treats David and me quite well. You should see him. He’s curled up by the fireplace like a dog. He even wags his tail when you talk to him.  What a dope.  David wants to bring him back to Havendale with him. I don’t think that would be a good idea, do you? I mean, could you see someone walking a dragon on the streets of Anytown, insert country?

I don’t know. Mirith’s cool and all that, but there’s no way I’d want to own a dragon.  What about you? Would you want to own a dragon?  If so, where would you keep it, ’cause, you know they’re usually the size of, oh, I don’t know – Texas?

Anyway, I’m going to nap, now. Running around and staying in Einar’s shadow is exhausting. Chat later.

What is trust?


What’s up, guys? David here again. I was wondering if I could ask you something.

What is trust? I mean, I’m not looking for a definition like you get out of a dictionary, but more like an understanding of how it works.

Up until I was thrust onto the path I’m on, I was very trusting of everyone. I believed my friends and my family and never thought they would ever lie to me. But I was wrong. Now, I can’t trust anyone. Everyone except Char has betrayed me. Once that happens, how can I trust anyone else ever again? How can I trust myself to know the difference when someone is lying to me or being truthful? I feel so used and, and, manipulated.

Have you ever felt that way? How do you get through it?

It’s a Teen Invasion


It’s that time of year for me to take a hiatus from my blog to write, edit, and write some more. In the past, I just went silent but this summer, at least for a month, I am turning my blog over to two teens, David and Charlotte, from my soon to be released novel, IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGON KING.

I have to tell you up front I have no idea what will spring forth from their fingers. I can tell you that David is quite nervous about it. He’s not one to voice his opinion. Charlotte, on the other hand, is quite vocal, but she promised me she would be nice, right Charlotte?

girl with thumbs up

They also said they would answer questions, too, and take ideas as they have no idea what to talk about.

Go figure … teens with nothing to talk about. Hmm. Is that even possible?  We shall see.

With that said, I will be here through the end of the week and beginning Monday, David Heiland will be on board to start off your week with whatever 16-year-old boys talk about. I hope you tune in now and then. It will be interesting.

2014 – what a freaking year!


I don’t know about you, but 2014 was a mixture of good and bad.

I spent much of the year on a personal level looking for a job.  9 months in and I finally landed one working for a real estate company in their property management division. Even though I bitched and moaned for the 1st 9 months that I kept going on interviews and kept getting turned down, I realize why I had to wait. This job is perfect. Low stress. Lovely people to work with. I’m pretty much my own boss as far as what I do, and I’m making the upper folks take notice of my work. From what I understand, they love me and the work I’m doing, and I couldn’t be more content. Thank you, God, for once again keeping your eye on me and knowing what was best.

As for my writing – well it’s been an awesome year. I had a short story, The Passion of Millie Hudson published by Hypothetical Press in their READING GLASSES anthology. What a great bunch of stories by some pretty fantastic authors, if you ask me.  If you like speculative fiction, this is an amazing collection of some kick-butt short stories and I’m thrilled to be part of the collection.

Reading Glasses
Available through Amazon

I also accomplished a lifetime dream – I got a publishing contract with Month9Books for my debut YA epic fantasy novel, IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGON KING, the first installment in the  Chronicles of Fallhollow series. It is slated for release in 2016, and if 2015 goes by as fast as 2014, release day will be here before I can blink my eyes.

 

What does 2015 hold for me?

Writing, writing and more writing.  I am wrapping up the second book in the Chronicles of Fallhollow series and I am almost ready to send to my publisher.  The third and final installment has been started, but it’s a long way from being done.

This year will be a crazy ride as I’ll be preparing for In the Shadow of the Dragon King’s release. That means I’ll need to take a crash course in marketing. I need to come up with a plan to spread the word. I’ll guest blog, guest host, conduct live interviews, interact with YA readers however I can. Suggestions from all of you would be worth more than all the gold in the world. Anyone in the marketing business who would love to tag along for the ride and help me jump in and get my feet and legs wet, I’m open to suggestions.  Goal for 2015?  Are you ready?

I want at least 5000 people lined up, eager and ready to purchase Dragon King before it’s release. It can happen. All it takes is the dream, the determination and a can-do attitude. Dragon King WILL be #1 on the NY Times best-seller list. It, and it’s three siblings, WILL be made into films.  I won’t take no for an answer.

Now that you know my story, what was your biggest accomplishment in 2014? What is your biggest ‘gonna happen’ dream for 2015?

 

Despite their digital prowess, teens still prefer print over ebooks


With my own YA novel coming out in 2016, I’ve been doing some research into what format teens prefer to read books.  Overwhelmingly, the surveys and the polls show teens still prefer to read print books over their digital counterparts by nearly 73%.  That’s  a huge number.

Voxburner recently conducted research for The Bookseller surveying 900 young people in the UK on their prefered method of reading. Overwhelmingly, nearly three-quarters of the young people surveyed said they prefer the print form. This is not the first survey to show these results.

Despite their digital prowess, the research continues to show time and time again that people in the 16 – 24 year old age group prefer the feel of a real book. They want to touch it, hold it, see the creases in the spine. It’s holistic. It’s real.

There are also two other determining factors:

  • Price; and
  • Ownership

Most young people do not have tablets or ereaders. They still get the majority of their reading material in paper from either schools, bookstores or libraries. They don’t have a lot of cash for the most part, and when they do, they aren’t going to fork out their money on a digital book that costs almost as much as their paper counterparts. They’d prefer to plunk down their cash for something they can share, and let’s face it, you can’t share an e-book unless you have a compatible device and a license that says you can do so. Paperbooks make their rounds. Trust me. As a teen, my friends and I swapped books all the time. It was great!

Ownership is huge with teens. They like to feel what they have is theirs. Even teens know that when you purchase the digital variant of a book, you are merely licensing the title and it is not actually yours to keep. The printed version, however, can be yours forever, for relatively the same price, so why not own instead of lease?

I spoke with a few YA authors over the weekend to get their feelings on this newest survey. Some have their books only releasing in eb0ok while others have the best of both worlds with ebook and print.  Four of the authors I spoke to weren’t aware of the surveys and are a little worried that their books will not reach their target audience. Two of those four said they might have signed too soon with their publishers who only print in digital format. Two other authors aren’t worried at all. Their books are getting published by a real publisher so it doesn’t matter what format it’s in.

Personally, I want to see my YA novels in print. Always have. Always will. The feeling is seeded way down deep in my gut. But whether print or digital, there is still a lot of hard work that goes into promoting a book, and unfortunately, authors are having to bear the majority of the marketing.

This also terrifies me. I’m not a marketing guru. The thought of what to do and how to do it paralyzes me.  I need to reach my market, which might be kind of hard to do seeing my trilogy is YA epic fantasy with the romance factor being about almost nil of the storyline. Girls like the romance, but I didn’t want to write another teen romance. I wanted to give them something different. Something epic. Something that wasn’t filled with page after page of sappy.  I think I have succeeded in that. In fact, I think I’ve written something teen boys can sink their teeth into. Think Narnia meets Harry Potter meets Lord of the Rings.  Sort of. I can only hope that I can create the buzz early with my novels so they will reach their intended audience no matter what format kids read. I really do think they’ll enjoy the adventure.  After all, it has dragons, and who doesn’t like reading about dragons, right?