Michelle Diener

Aug 122015
 

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

Welcome to the Book Blitz for
Dark Horse
By Michelle Diener

Stepping into the Unknown
Intro to Dark Horse

I’m a writer, but I’ve also always been a reader. I’ve read voraciously my whole life in almost every genre. I’ve always written, even as a child, and when I finally started to write seriously, with the intent of publication, it was honestly a struggle to decide what kind of stories to write. I had so many ideas.

I wrote fantasy, I wrote a time travel, and I wrote historical fiction. The book that got me my agent and a publishing contract with Simon & Schuster’s Gallery Books was a historical, and given how much I love history and reading historicals, that was a very happy place for me.

But part of my love of story has always been fairy tales, myth and legend. The original blueprints for all stories. There is something so fundamental and archetypal about fairy tales, and I found myself writing fantasies based on fairy tales between my historicals, which helped to keep me fresh in both genres.

And then, I found the stories that were coming to me, and speaking to me the most, were science fiction story ideas.

I have always loved Star Wars and Star Trek. I loved Battlestar Gallactica (both the old and the new) and movies like Serenity and the new Star Trek movies. I was very selective with the science fiction I read, but I loved Iain M. Banks and Linnea Sinclair.

I got the idea for Dark Horse while I was writing a new historical, and it came to me so strongly, I decided to write a few chapters of it, and then put it aside.

That never happened.

I found I couldn’t put it aside, but at the same time, it wasn’t an easy process. This wasn’t a book that wrote itself. (I don’t think I’ve ever experienced that phenomenon, sometimes referred to by other writers, although I wait patiently with hope in my heart for the day I do!) I wrote, and re-wrote. I second guessed myself. I tore at my hair.

The problem was I had such a clear idea of what I wanted to come across, and I refused to compromise on making that happen.

When it was done, I was happy that I had stayed true to my original idea of the book, but I assumed, because science fiction is a world away from historical fiction, that Dark Horse would find a happy place among readers but not be any kind of record breaker. That I’d be very lucky if a few of my historical readers gave it a try, although I had some hopes my fantasy readers would be more willing to take a chance on it.

I told myself I was stepping into a new genre and that I just shouldn’t expect that much.

I’m really happy to have been so wrong :).

The reception Dark Horse has gotten has really been overwhelming. It is already my most successful book and certainly the best received by readers. I am so thrilled they love the world I created in Dark Horse as much as I do. And I’m happy to say that I am writing another book set in that world right now.

Stepping into the unknown can be scary, but it can be exhilarating, too.

— Michelle Diener

Dark HorseDark Horse
by Michelle Diener
Adult Sci-Fi
Paperback & ebook, 381 Pages
June 15th 2015

Some secrets carry the weight of the world.

Rose McKenzie may be far from Earth with no way back, but she’s made a powerful ally–a fellow prisoner with whom she’s formed a strong bond. Sazo’s an artificial intelligence. He’s saved her from captivity and torture, but he’s also put her in the middle of a conflict, leaving Rose with her loyalties divided.

Captain Dav Jallan doesn’t know why he and his crew have stumbled across an almost legendary Class 5 battleship, but he’s not going to complain. The only problem is, all its crew are dead, all except for one strange, new alien being.

She calls herself Rose. She seems small and harmless, but less and less about her story is adding up, and Dav has a bad feeling his crew, and maybe even the four planets, are in jeopardy. The Class 5’s owners, the Tecran, look set to start a war to get it back and Dav suspects Rose isn’t the only alien being who survived what happened on the Class 5. And whatever else is out there is playing its own games.

In this race for the truth, he’s going to have to go against his leaders and trust the dark horse.

Image of Michelle Diener

Michelle Diener writes historical fiction, fantasy and science fiction. Having worked in publishing and IT, she’s now very happy crafting new worlds and interesting characters and wondering which part of the world she can travel to next.

Michelle was born in London, grew up in South Africa and currently lives in Australia with her husband and two children.

When she’s not writing, or driving her kids from activity to activity, you can find her blogging at Magical Musings. or online at Twitter, at Google+ and Facebook.

Blitz Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card (open internationally)
2 print copies of Dark Horse (US only)
Ends August 18th

New release: Breaking Out Part I & II

 BREAKING OUT  Comments Off on New release: Breaking Out Part I & II
Jul 202015
 

Breaking Out coversI’ve never had only a month between releases before, and I’m not sure I ever will again, but Breaking Out Parts I & II are a special case.

Breaking Out: Part I started life as a short story entitled Breaking Out, which I wrote for inclusion in the ENTANGLED Anthology, a box set of short stories and novellas for which all proceeds went to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. I’m proud to say we raised over $12,000 for the BCRF with ENTANGLED.

After the anthology was taken down from sale, I was asked if I would include Breaking Out in the ENTRANCED box set, and it was great to have the story out again, although that anthology, too, is no longer available for sale.

I’m really happy to make Breaking Out: Part I available for sale at last outside of an anthology, and the impetus for it was the many readers of both anthologies who contacted me saying how much they loved it, and would I write more?

I did :)

Breaking Out: Part II is dedicated to all the readers who emailed me or contacted me through twitter and Facebook saying they loved Breaking Out: Part I, and to ask if I could write more about Kelli, Nate and Giles. It motivated me to steal an hour here and an hour there while I was working under deadline for other projects to write Part II. And I think they’ll be happy to hear it’s double the length of Breaking Out: Part I.

Thank you for loving my characters as much as I do. For more information on Breaking Out: Part I & II, you can find it here.

Buy: Part I | Part II

Try a New Genre & Win Reader Challenge Starts July 2nd

 Giveaways  Comments Off on Try a New Genre & Win Reader Challenge Starts July 2nd
Jul 022015
 

New Genre Contest Graphic

How It Works

This challenge starts on July 2nd, and ends on July 30th, so you have a month to get reading. First off, you’ll need to join us at the Read a New Genre Facebook Group.

PERSUADE US . . .

We’re all different and what we like to read is no exception. However, sometimes it’s fun to change things up a bit and try something new. We’re going to help with that, by giving the first 200 lucky readers to ask us an ebook for free. All we ask is that the book they request is in a genre they don’t read, or read a long time ago and drifted out of.

Each participating author will offer ten books for free (we’ll give you a list of what’s available). But if you don’t manage to get in fast enough and there aren’t any books left, don’t worry, you’re still eligible for the Take a Walk on the Wild Side contest. Find a book in a new-to-you genre, whether at the library, from a friend, or if you want to support the wonderful authors involved in this contest by buying one of their books, so much the better!

Read the book—the contest runs for four weeks, so you’ve got time—then write a paragraph on the contest’s Facebook group about what surprised and delighted you about the genre you just read. You can also include a short paragraph on the genre you usually read and why you love it. Help convince other readers to give a new genre a try!

We’re going to encourage people to like the paragraphs that inspired them to read a new genre, and the five entries with the most likes will go to a well-known book blogger (with names redacted) to choose the winner of the $200 gift card.

BE A CHATTERBOX . . .

This is one place where being a chatterbox will get you sent to the top of the class, not to detention. We want people talking about the books they’re reading, swopping recommendations, and generally connecting over new genres, so we’ve got a $50 gift card prize to the person who interacts the most on the Facebook group.

Good luck, everyone, this is going to be a lot of fun!

And here are the amazing authors involved in sponsoring this contest:

Marilyn Brant
Robin Bielman
Kelsey Browning
Zoe Dawson
Michelle Diener
Cynthia Eden
Jennifer Estep
Misty Evans
Maggie Mae Gallagher
Lori Handeland
Mary Hughes
Shona Husk
Rachel Johns
Dale Mayer
Nancy Naigle
Christina Phillips
Edie Ramer​
Elle J Rossi
Barbara Samuel
Therese Walsh

We’ll be posting a profile on each author and the books they have made eligible for the giveaway on the Read a New Genre Facebook group on July 2nd. As stated above, the first 200 people to request the books on offer will get them for free, thereafter, participants will have to source their own books, either from the library, a friend, or if they’d like to support one of the authors sponsoring this contest, so much the better! Only one free book request per person, so as many readers as possible can benefit.

Cover Reveal – DARK HORSE

 Where I Am on the Web  Comments Off on Cover Reveal – DARK HORSE
May 272015
 

I am absolutely THRILLED to show everyone my latest cover. This is for my first science fiction novel, DARK HORSE, which is due for release on June 15th. I love how Elle at EJR Digital Art managed to perfectly capture the feel of the story in this cover.

Dark Horse 500px

Here is the book blurb:

Some secrets carry the weight of the world.

Rose McKenzie may be far from Earth with no way back, but she’s made a powerful ally–a fellow prisoner with whom she’s formed a strong bond. Sazo’s an artificial intelligence. He’s saved her from captivity and torture, but he’s also put her in the middle of a conflict, leaving Rose with her loyalties divided.

Captain Dav Jallan doesn’t know why he and his crew have stumbled across an almost legendary Class 5 battleship, but he’s not going to complain. The only problem is, all its crew are dead, all except for one strange, new alien being.

She calls herself Rose. She seems small and harmless, but less and less about her story is adding up, and Dav has a bad feeling his crew, and maybe even the four planets, are in jeopardy. The Class 5’s owners, the Tecran, look set to start a war to get it back and Dav’s also getting the feeling Rose isn’t the only alien being who survived what happened on the Class 5. And whatever else is out there is playing its own games.

In this race for the truth, he’s going to have to go against his leaders and trust the dark horse.

The History behind the Dark Forest series

 Where I Am on the Web  Comments Off on The History behind the Dark Forest series
Oct 312014
 

Dark Forest Ad smallThe Deciding Power

Fairy tales are wonderful explorations of our personal sub-conscious, and of a collective sub-conscious, as well.

One of the recurring themes of fairy tales is the dark forest. The symbolism of entering the dark forest is one of confronting the darkness of our own sub-conscious, and grappling with issues of identity and rebirth. Respected Jungian psychologist, Marie-Louise Von Franz, who was a leader in work on the interpretation of fairy tales, discusses how entering the forest is the starting point for the hero or heroine’s life-changing deeds and decisions. Where they go from being unconscious of themselves and their abilities, to a more conscious state. I loved weaving that fairy tale aspect into The Golden Apple, even though it wasn’t part of The Princess on the Glass Hill, the original tale I based the story on.

The Golden Apple 300 wideA criticism of fairy tales is the passivity of heroines. Cinderella has to be found by the prince and saved, Snow White kissed awake while she lies passive, Sleeping Beauty, the same. But there are fairy tales were the heroine is more active. East of the Sun, West of the Moon, which I based my fantasy novel Mistress of the Wind on, is one of them, and in that, the heroine is clearly the hero and the protagonist of the story. But there was also a flash of that in The Princess on the Glass Hill, and why I became interested in the story in the first place.

TSPAt first glance, the story is like Cinderella, Snow White etc, in that the princess can do nothing but sit on top of her glass mountain and wait while the knights try to ride up the smooth, steep glass to pluck the golden apple from her lap. She will have no choice but to marry whoever manages to do it. But there was a line in the story which caught my eye. It said the princess threw down the apple to the hero as he tried to reach the top. In other words, she had sized them all up, decided who she’d prefer to have, and helped the hero to win. She seems to have no power, but in fact, she has all of it, in that moment. She has the golden apple. She can throw it to whoever she wants, or, in fact, hold on to it. No-one can reach it without her assistance.

This interesting twist on power, who wields it and how it is used, inspired me to write The Golden Apple. I ended up diverging wildly from the original tale, but at it’s heart, I hope I reflect that interesting power-switch that the original was hinting at.

Contest

 Giveaways, THE SILVER PEAR  Comments Off on Contest
Oct 072014
 

Fresh Fiction is hosting a terrific contest for me.

Entrants stand a chance to win a fantastic golden apple charm (14k gold over 925 stirling silver) and a silver pear charm (925 stirling silver), as well as a copy of The Golden Apple and The Silver AND an e-copy of Entranced: A Halloween Box Set which includes my paranormal short story, Breaking Out.

Go here to find out more: http://freshfiction.com/contest.php?id=6840

MD

Release Day for The Silver Pear

 THE SILVER PEAR  Comments Off on Release Day for The Silver Pear
Oct 012014
 

I am so, so thrilled that The Silver Pear is out today!

Release day! (1)

Amazon | iTunes | B&N | Kobo

About The Silver Pear:

An unlikely princess . . .

Kayla is determined to master her new-found abilities as a wild magic witch. She’s learning everything she can so she and her betrothed, Rane, can put a stop to the sorcerers who are recklessly gathering their power, building up their magic to take each other on in a war that will destroy the countries of Middleland.

An even more unlikely sorcerer . . .

Mirabelle’s father was one of the greatest sorcerers in Middleland, but when he used the magic in the silver pear to bespell his pregnant wife to give birth to the greatest sorcerer who would ever live, he never thought that child would be a girl. Mirabelle is nothing like a usual sorcerer, confounding every expectation, and when she comes to the rescue of Rane’s brother, Soren, she makes a decision few sorcerers would. She saves him, rather than herself, losing the silver pear in the process.

And using magic always exacts a price . . .

With war not just a possibility but simply a matter of time, there are no neutral parties and no fence-sitters in Kayla and Mirabelle’s new world. Everyone is either an ally or an enemy and there is a price to pay for everything. The question is, how high will it be?

425 The Golden AppleThe Silver Pear is the sequel to The Golden Apple, and together they form The Dark Forest series. For the month of October, The Golden Apple is on sale for the special price of 99c in celebration of the release of The Silver, and will go back to its usual price from November 1st.

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