ICE is free July 7-11

IceCover

I am humbled and amazed by how well my first novella has been received. With 70+ reviews between Amazon and Goodreads, it has been a great joy to know that most readers have enjoyed ICE. Is it perfect? No, but the vast majority of readers have said that they enjoyed the small-town feel, the suspense, and the sense of community.

ICE tells the story of one fateful November morning when the the fictional town of Minterville, Georgia, is brutalized by vicious thugs. Twenty women are kidnapped and set in a death trap that can quite literally be described as cold. Time is ticking away as the rest of the town scrambles to come up with a viable rescue plan.

Here are what some reviewers have said about ICE:

“This book is a crazy (in a good way) mixture of supernatural, thriller, and mystery.” Emily Woodmansee, who gave it 4 stars.

“The twist this story takes left me caring more about ICE and it’s characters than any book I read recently.” Barbara Chioffi, who gave it 5 stars.

“This was an enjoyable read and the story was good…This being a great beginning to a writing career, there are some things that I personally feel could have made this story far better.” Tom Fallwell, who rated it 3.5 stars.

“A fast paced entertainment that sets the scene frot an uncertain future.” Mmcqu2005, who rated it 5 stars.

“Very interesting storyline…unique writing style.” Amanshay, who rated it 4 stars.

“The plot was excellent, the descriptive a done in a way that made the author’s research excellent.” Amazon Pygmy Reviews, who rated it 5 stars.

“This had an excellent plot that kept m reading to the end but it could have been so much more…[the author] is talented and I would read more…just need more development.” Loki, who rated it three stars.

ICE is also the precursor to my upcoming C.I.N. Dystopian trilogy. If you are interested, check it out free until the 11th. Thank you for your support of indie authors.

https://www.amazon.com/Ice-Jessica-Wren-ebook/product-reviews/B00O1CCAU6/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_hist_2?ie=UTF8&sortBy=recent&formatType=current_format&filterByStar=two_star&pageNumber=1

Presenting a Special Guest-Miranda Shanklin

Meet Miranda Shanklin, author of the Soul Journey series (who’s also celebrating a birthday today). The series revolves around four teens who discover they have power beyond anyone’s wildest imaginations–and some powerful enemies.

And let me just add that these are some of these most beautiful covers I have ever seen.

Miranda Shanklin

Book 1 is Soul Journey. 

soul journey

Blurb:

It has been many lifetimes since the cycle began.

The cycle that still haunts Annisa Lawson.

A spell cast in desperation to help, which only caused heartache.

Now, Annisa has found her way out of the varying repeats of her past; only to bring more danger to herself, and those around her. Now she must learn to survive with the help of her friends: Chase, Penelope, and Landon have all gone through each life cycle with Annisa. Sometimes helping, sometimes hindering. Now that Annisa has broken the cycle of their collective punishment, she finds that she needs her friends more than ever to keep their enemies, known, and unknown, at bay. As the group of friends learn of their souls’ journeys through their many life cycles, they must also learn to control the magick they have discovered within themselves and each other, in order to defeat the most feared assassin in their world.

What reviews have said about Soul Journey:

Such an amazing book!!!I don’t even know where to begin… the feels, the conflict & uncertantity of life is almost too much for Annisa, but she recovers beautifully and accecpts her new found lot in life with grace & dignity.” -Amanda Wise

“Fantastic coming of age story with a fun Sci-fi/Fantasy twist! The description of magic and how it’s wielded was absolutely beautiful, it actually gave me chills. Book 2, Soul Redemption is definitely on my TBR!”-K.D

“What a suspenseful book to read. I loved all the characters. They were very well liked. I would recommend this book to anyone that wants to read a book that is a YA book with great characters that you will love to read about.k has it all… mystery, love, conflict, regret, action… I have throughly enjoyed it!”-Tamra Cordery

To check it out: http://www.amazon.com/Soul-Journey-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00N7T7CX4/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Book 2 is Soul Redemption. 

Soul Redemption

Blurb:

Just when Annisa and her friends were starting to think maybe the Counsel would leave them alone, two new students arrive at school. In any other town, new students wouldn’t be a sign that something big was about to happen to Annisa, Chase, Landon, and Penelope; but this wasn’t a normal town and they weren’t normal teenagers. They had come into their powers and defeated the most feared assassin in their world, so the appearance of new witches in their small town could only mean one thing…..the Counsel was ready to make another attempt to destroy them.

After watching the new students alienate them from everyone they know, including their parents, Annisa and her friends break through the spell and things start to calm down for them. It’s not until an old enemy returns with news that will shock them that they realize everything is not as it seems. Now they have to decide whether or not to trust an old enemy claiming to help them, or try and fight against the Counsel’s most trusted Advisors on their own.

The choice the group makes will change their lives forever.

What reviewers are saying:

“This second book in the Soul Series, captures your attention and imagination, even better than the first book. You live through the characters. You feel what they feel, become angry at what happens to them..you know them inside and out. If you like fantasy/romance/suspense/action/and young adult drama, this is the book series for you. 10/10!”-Crystal

Lots of twists here with the witches coming into their powers. Great story!” Pamijo

To check it out: http://www.amazon.com/Soul-Redemption-Series-Book-ebook/dp/B00O3N22GA/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8

Book 3 of the Series is Soul Knowledge:

Soul Knowledge

Blurb:

Annisa Lawson and her friends were getting pretty good at surviving. So far, they have defeated every force sent to destroy them. So when they are faced with new forces they had never thought possible, they were not entirely prepared. They were scrambling to catch up their magickal knowledge of the forces that were being sent after them. With their newly strengthened bond, they would have to work together to triumph. Just when they think they have it all figured out, something new pops up.
They are offered help, but will it be enough to once again overcome the forces working against them? The highly misunderstood forces in play will either help or hinder them; the question is, who do they trust?
The collective uncertainty and lack of knowledge could be the downfall of the entire group, testing their ability to trust in their own power, and that of each other. Can they overcome these forces and once again defend their special bond from destruction?

What reviewers are saying:

“A real rollercoaster of a ride. With spells gone wrong, kidnappings, destruction and love put to the ultimate test”-Samaris

“This series is amazing. The way the author portrays witches is very unique. This book was full of action and suspense. It was hard to put down. All the characters are interesting and believable”-Angie Campbell

To check it out: http://www.amazon.com/Soul-Knowledge-Series-Book-ebook/dp/B00PA4JC9Q/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8

Book 4 of the series is Soul Freedom

soul freedom

Blurb:

With the stress of graduation and planning weddings, Annisa and her group of friends want to end things with the Counsel once and for all. They strengthen their bond to the strongest it can be and go on the offensive. After they achieve their goal, they find that was not their only problem. Now they have to figure out who will be the next Counsel, and how to deal with other realms that have found their way in. While the group guards over the Origin, Annisa goes with members of the other realms to track down the wayward travelers, before they cause too much damage in our realm. To prevent this from happeningagain or any damage that may result, the group, along with their newly appointed Counsel, must come up with a system to allow other realms access to our realm, so they don’t have to constantly be on the lookout for trespassers from other realms. Can it be done in time for Annisa and her friends to enjoy graduation, and Annisa’s upcoming nuptials? With the help of friends and family, it just may be possible!

What reviewers are saying:

“This book is probably my favourite of the series so far…This one kept up at a steady pace and had me interested the entire time. I can’t wait to see where Miranda takes them next.”-Caitlin

“I was so engrossed in reading this book that I didn’t even realize I was close to the end until I turned the page to the ‘about the author’ blurb”-Amanda Wise

To check it out: http://www.amazon.com/Soul-Freedom-Series-Book-Volume/dp/1505267560/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8

Book 5 of the series is Soul Discovery

Soul Discovery

Blurb:

Annisa and her group have finally made it to the point where they don’t have to watch over their shoulders for someone trying to destroy them. They have put together a system that allows the other realms access to our realm and they are still able to keep an eye on them. Will the faeries and the trolls outsmart them and accomplish their goal? Will Annisa and the others be able to obtain enough support to keep their realm intact? Or will the faeries and trolls destroy all that this realm stands for? Chase and Annisa have taken on a task that they are not sure if they can accomplish without the help of the others who have to stay behind and keep things running smoothly at the passageways. They will have to be creative and convincing to pull this one off and create a truce between all the realms.

What reviewers are saying:

“I really loved the fresh approach to a paranormal story. It was a little slow at start, but, it did not take long for me to become hooked. I can’t wait to find out what happens next.”-V. Hudson

“Miranda did a great job rounding out the ending leaving me satisfied with the complete story. If you haven’t picked up book 1 in the soul saver series and are into paranormal YA I would recommend this series to you.”-Caitlin

To check it out: http://www.amazon.com/Soul-Discovery-Series-Book-Volume/dp/1505892309/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8

To connect with Miranda Shanklin:

On Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8526541.Miranda_Shanklin?from_search=true&search_version=service

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mirandashanklinauthor?fref=ts

On Twitter: https://twitter.com/mlshanklin

Her Amazon Page: http://www.amazon.com/Miranda-Shanklin/e/B00N7X1LMI/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

Money for Twenty (a Parody)

It has always been a dream of mine to be the female Weird Al Yankovich. Parody-writing is a lot of fun. Here is a parody of the song “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits that summarizes my novel Ice. Enjoy!

Money for Twenty

(I want my, I want my lost money…I want my, I want my lost money…I want my, I want my lost money…I want my, I want my lost money)

Now look at them weirdos

What the hell’re they doing?

They act like they got some kind of ESP

But it ain’t working, that’s the way we’ll do it,

Money for twenty, or we’ll let them freeze.

Now that old building, that is where we’ll do it

Let me tell ya, that cop is dumb

Maybe then we’ll take his daughter with the others

We need to get a hold of the rich one.

(Chorus):

We got to hurry up and get this plan moving

Cuz we got spaces for twenty

We got to get back Manuela’s millions

We got to get back to Miami…

Old Man Watson is the mayor of this hellhole

Yeah, buddy, he’s been hiding here

Old Man Watson thought he was gonna outsmart us

Old Watson’s daughter, she’s a billionaire.

(Chorus)

Get ’em in there! Now!

(Chorus)

Look at that, look there…

She should’ve known to stop all that yellin’

She should’ve known to shut her mouth

Now look at that blood spot that happened when we crushed her skull in, yeah

Against the pool side

Now what’s in here? What’s that? Why are my eyes stinging?

There’s something in the air and now it’s hard to breathe

Ah, this ain’t working. I’m done with this shit, screw it.

Money for twenty, or we let them freeze.

(Chorus)

Listen here, now. This ain’t working. This ain’t how to do it. They took too long and we let them freeze.

This ain’t working. This ain’t how to do it.

Money for twenty or we let them freeze

(Money for twenty, we let them freeze….)

(I want my, I want my, I want my lost money…)

This ain’t working!

Plot Holes?

Have you ever read The Hunger Games? If so, consider this: why would Panem, a nation that seems to purposefully keep its populace living in concentration-camp-like conditions, provide what appears to be a marvelous education (complete with extracurricular activities and music lessons)to its youth? Notice the question word: why?

Within a suspiciously short time, I got nearly identical reviews on Ice that asked why was the pool never drained? Why did the drug lord wait so long to act? Why would a person with no history of violence act out such a complex plan of revenge?

I’m not complaining. I’ll take any reviews I can get. I also respect all readers right to their opinions and I think asking why is healthy. But it did get me thinking: where do we draw the line between plot holes and taking fictional liberties?

Plot holes are a lack of continuity within a story, either in a novel or between series. Here is an example from one of my favorite writers, Mrs. Isabel Allende. In Daughter of Fortune, one of the characters, Pauline del Valle, was pregnant with her fourth child towards the end of the novel. In its sequel, A Portrait in Sepia, thirty years later Pauline only has three children and it specifically states that she had been pregnant three times. What happened to the fourth child? A plot hole can also occur when a writer slacks off and creates a situation that is completely unbelievable; that is, something that cannot be explained at all. Even though they may not be continuity errors, they smack of lazy writing. To use The Hunger Games again, Cato and Clove, who are both consistently portrayed as ruthless killers who never leave a victim breathing, let not one but two victims get away. Cato gives Peeta a leg wound and then walks away, after he is shown to let his temper cloud his judgment.  Clove (who is literally a back-stabbing bitch) wastes a lot of time taunting Katniss, which led to her own demise. Of course, Mrs. Collins wanted to show that Katniss and Peeta had close encounters with the Careers and lived through it, but my thought was that in these two cases, she took the easy way out. One could argue that cato wanted Peeta to suffer a slow death, but this just does not match the characterization that Collins gives him. And another thing: Thresh lets Katniss live because he feels he “owes” her after the compassion she showed Rue. In the arena, there is no “owing.” You either kill or be killed. Now once again, one could argue that for Thresh, it didn’t matter. Whether he let Katniss live or not, he was eventually going to have to go head-to head with Cato. But Katniss’ explanation that “if he won, he would have to face a district that broke its rules to thank me” doesn’t make sense because Thresh had no way of knowing about the bread gift. Once again, I think Collins could have handled this in a more plausible manner.

(Note: my purpose of this post is not to trash Mrs. Collins or The Hunger Games. I loved the book and devoured the entire series in two days. I’m just using it as an example because nowadays, I only read indie authors-due to time constraints-and The Hunger Games is the only mainstream novel I have read lately. I never, under any circumstances, criticize an indie author in this blog). Moving forward:

Fictional Liberties are “boosts” that an author uses to move the plot along. In the cases in Ice I have given above, these boosts were essential to the plot: if the pool had been drained, there would be no plot, at least not as I described it. As to the other two things, I explained those in the book, so either the reader wasn’t paying attention or deliberately ignored them. Once again, I will use The Hunger Games to clarify the difference between a plot hole and a fictional liberty. There are many examples I can give since the novel is chock-full of wild coincidences. The best way to tell them apart is if you have to ask why? As in: why would President Snow, who was apparently completely aware that Katniss routinely violated the law every Sunday by hunting in the woods, be so hesitant to punish her? In fact, Snow missed a great opportunity to hold her up as an example that even victors aren’t immune from the law. Because without Katniss, the story would be over. Period. She is necessary to the plot.  And why exactly is Katniss’ trick wit the berries an act of rebellion, when in 74 years, people have certainly pulled more desperate stunts to survive the arena. And speaking of this: why did Haymitch’s so-called act of rebellion result in the murder of his family but Katniss’ act did not? The answer to that may seem simple-Prim was Snow’s only leverage to force Katniss into prostitution in the Capitol-but why am I getting the impression that Finnick (and possibly Cashmere) were the only victors who actually served as prostitutes. And it says that clients paid Snow for the pleasure of a one-night stand with Finnick, so why would they owe him anything at all, least of all potentially seditious Capitol secrets?

So are you ready for Jessica’s ever-wise recommendations for both readers and writers? (Disclaimer: my opinion only. Not professional advice)

To writers: it is your story and you are free to write it how you choose. Fictional liberties (kept within the bounds of some believability) are fine. In fact, attempting to explain every single little thing will bog down your story. This is why it is called fiction. By definition, fiction is a product of writers’ imagination and not based on fact.

To readers: You are free to rate a work however you see fit; that is absolutely your right. However, if you are overthinking things, you are probably putting more effort into a review than is required for a work of fiction. I would say that if you hated a work, just get it off your chest and say you hated it (although for the life of me, I can’t figure out why a reader would even finish a book that he/she hated so much). I would much rather a reader tell me “I hate this story, I can’t get into it, and I can’t finish it” than to expect me to explain away anything that might deviate from reality a tad or is not written how they would have written it. I mean it. You have the right to tell me you simply hate my story, with no explanation. You are under no obligation to look for a reason to hate it (although I definitely still welcome and appreciate constructive criticism). I have more respect for a reviewer who simply tells me they didn’t like the story than one who tries to impose his or her version of MY story on me.

To answer the question as to why the pool never got drained? Because no one ever thought, “You know, this pool might be used against us one day in an elaborate revenge plan aimed at our beloved mayor. Let’s buy an expensive pump and get this sucker drained right this second.” Anyone who has read Ice knows that the Mints, spoiled into complacency by their peaceful existence, don’t have the same sense of urgency that most normal people have. For this same reason, they don’t bother to prepare for emergencies (like forest fires or errant gunmen).

A very nice review of Ice. Thanks to Ms. Janis Cramlett

http://authorsandangels.blogspot.com/2015/01/review-ice-by-jessica-wren.html

Review

Writing is like fishing. You toss out your line (i.e. your book) hopping to hook a fish(i.e. a reader). They say as well that if you don’t hook your reader within the first few lines then it’s over. That person will probably not continue reading your book. Well luckily Mrs. Wren is a great fisherman for she hooks you within the first few lines with her tantalizing use of words. She writes with a mystery that begs you to read more to find out the meaning behind her setting of words.

Jessica Wren’s book “Ice” takes you on a dramatic, jolting ride. There is a mystery brewing in the small town of Minterville, Georgia. First two mysterious families have moved into the small town of Minterville, which has also brought on an eerie physical gloom of clouds that hang over the town. The clouds just hang there like a cover of gloom giving no rain. Next the Minter stopped. The Minter is this little secret mental communication board some of the towns folks have in Minterville. The big problem with it stopping is that it only stops when there is an evil presence around.

If that is not of enough worry for the residents of Minterville, the women of Minterville start disappearing…

Jessica Wren then takes the floor out from under you as the story takes a shockingly, wicked turn. To remind you this book is title “ICE

 ” there is a reason for that. I enjoyed how the Mrs. Wren weaved the title of her book into the story itself. There is a reason this book is entitled “ICE”. It is not pretty either.

Written in parts, with different narratives by certain towns folks of Minterville was an interesting narrative choice. It worked too. It gave the book a feel of finding an old town newspaper, or town history book. This worked with the overall tone of the story too.

Overall I enjoyed “ICE”. The book was not what I thought it would be. Jessica Wren sets up a nice cozy setting then all of a sudden it takes an enthralling unexpected turn that does not disappoint you.

There were a lot of characters and people being related to this person and that in the book. It kind of confused me a bit, but that is just me. Genealogy confuses me sometime with your brother being your uncles monkey or something like that. In the end good read. This innocently titled book will shock you.

Follow more on Jessica Wren
Homesite: Jessicawrenfiction.com
Twitter:@wrennovels
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Need a favor.

Please Join my Facebook group Jessica Wren Fiction. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1397640247199145/

It would be most helpful if you would invite your friends. There will be a $10 (minimum) drawing for an Amazon gift card every week starting February 1st, for which all members will be entered. Trying to get this book to take off, and some of the methods that worked in 2013 don’t work today. (simple supply and demand at work).

Revenge really IS a best served cold…

The way twenty women are brutally punished over one person’s long-ago mistake will leave you chilled to the bone. How many women will survive the vicious attack? Who will survive, and who is receiving secret help? Find out when you read Ice today

http://www.amazon.com/Ice-Jessica-Wren-ebook/dp/B00O1CCAU6/ref=sr_1_9?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1420224775&sr=1-9&keywords=ice

Elenita was kidnapped 17 years ago. What really happened to her?

In the otherwise crime-free town of Minterville, Georgia, little Elenita Velasquez disappeared without a trace in 1994. it was one of only two crimes that had ever occurred in the town’s history. Elenita has not been seen or heard from since, and her diappearance has never been solved.

But what really happened to her? Who took her? The answers to these questions will shock you to the very core. Check out Ice and find out what happened to little Elenita.

http://www.amazon.com/Ice-Jessica-Wren-ebook/dp/B00O1CCAU6/ref=sr_1_9?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1420224775&sr=1-9&keywords=ice

Twenty women become the target of a cruel revenge plot…

…that none of them had a thing to do with. Who started it? Why were the women tortured in such a cold, callous manner? What did the attackers want? How many of them will survive the torturous punishment? Find out when you read Ice.

http://www.amazon.com/Ice-Jessica-Wren-ebook/dp/B00O1CCAU6/ref=sr_1_9?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1420224775&sr=1-9&keywords=ice

The only thing colder than the Ice Queen’s crime is her heart.

Manuela Escribano (The Ice Queen) is a smart, talented, well-educated woman, who chose to channel her talents into the manufacture and distribution of drugs.

She is also VERY slow to let go of a grudge. When something happens to her that she perceives as a betrayal, her fury is still burning decades later, and a small town is about to be the target of her long-nursed anger…

http://www.amazon.com/Ice-Jessica-Wren-ebook/dp/B00O1CCAU6/ref=sr_1_4?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1420768036&sr=1-4&keywords=ice