Monday, March 13, 2023

Official Cover Reveal + Contest + Read HELLFINDER for Free

The awesome and incredible HELLFINDER cover leaked several months ago and I was going to do an official reveal on Halloween, but I got busy at work. Then I was gonna do it on New Years Day, but I got busy with life, and now here we are--less than 6 months from release. And finally I have time to set up a Rafflecopter and a newsletter. Let's goooooo!

The tl;dr is that this post contains the cover, info about the book, a link where you can pre-order a gorgeous finished copy, a link where you can access an e-ARC free via NetGalley, and a Rafflecopter where you can win $20.

So first, here's the stunning cover, created by C.B. Royal:

A teen girl with medium-length brown hair stands in the middle of an ice cave, looking out at at an orange and red volcano. The title text reads: HELLFINDER

I love this cover for several reasons. First, I love the overall vibe and animated feel. I think the story could make a great animated feature or graphic novel. Second, the colors. THE COLORS. I love how bright and eye-catching they are, and how they work with the story. I can definitely see how the artist incorporated in pictures of volcanoes and ice caverns I sent her. And I love that title font, even though matching it for self-designed swag is probably going to be impossible. It's malevolent, but not in an over-the-top way.

So what's the book about?

Winter Break turns deadly when Rory Quinn and her treasure-hunter grandmother travel to Iceland in search of an enchanted artifact. Their mission is to recover a blood-smeared stone that legend says will lead whoever possesses it to the nearest doorway to Hell. The client' s grandson, Einar, took the stone at the request of his favorite heavy metal band. As part of a publicity stunt, the band plans to open the closest doorway, rumored to exist deep inside one of Iceland' s many volcanoes, in just three days. 

Along with Einar' s twin brother, Gunnar, Rory and Gram will need to navigate glaciers, ice caves, and volcanic tunnels in search of the missing artifact. But can the three of them recover the stone before the band unleashes anything evil into the Icelandic wilderness? As the team grows closer to Einar, Rory is growing closer to Gunnar, too. But she can tell he' s keeping secrets from her. Big ones, that when revealed, will cause her to question almost everything she' s ever believed.

Hellfinder releases August 29, 2023.

More about HELLFINDER:

1. It's action-packed and fun! I started this book in late 2015 and finished the submission draft in early 2017, and I think it was easier for me back then to write wild and whimsical stories that aren't weighted down by grief I feel about the current state of the world. This book was inspired partly by classic adventure movies like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Romancing the Stone, and National Treasure.

2. There's an awkward and endearing PG romance. I didn't plan for a romance the same way I didn't plan these characters. Rory and Gunnar just showed up in my brain and started bickering and then bantering, and it felt right to see how their feelings developed. There's no Instalove here, but I think doing a road trip that almost kills you several times has a natural bonding effect--they're kind of like soldiers who survive combat together, but with more kissing.

3. It's grounded in reality but has supernatural elements. I'd call this urban fantasy but it takes place in tiny towns and wilderness. Rural fantasy? Is that a thing? :) I always wanted to write a story with otherworldly creatures, but I came up in the YA world right at the time every editor was buried in sexy vampires and werewolves, so my agent was always like "Ahahaha, absolutely not." But eventually it felt like it was time for another round of all-things-paranormal so I wrote it anyway. And if you like books by Kami Garcia, Cassandra Clare and Kiersten White, or shows like Lucifer, Supernatural, and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, then Hellfinder should be for you.

4. ICELAND! If you know me or follow me online at all you know I LOVE Iceland. I would move there tomorrow if they'd let me--honestly, even without a job. I'd figure something out. Iceland feels like another planet to me, a kinder, more compassionate one, albeit with a rockier and less-forgiving topography. If you enjoy the idea of standing beneath majestic waterfalls, hiking on glaciers, dogsledding, swimming in geothermal pools, and/or crawling through ice caves and lava tubes, this book will deliver the sensory goods. Seriously, if you've read this far and don't want to check out the book, then you should skip it, but consider a trip to Iceland someday if it's within your means. It really is a magical life-changing kind of place.

Interested in pre-ordering? 

I will be setting up a pre-order giveaway after I get some stickers and bookplates made, but you can pre-order now and still qualify for that. Just follow me on social or subscribe to my mailing list so you won't miss the announcement. You can find this title in the usual places, but if you want to support an all-female run small business, pre-order direct from Regal House/Fitzroy.

How do I read for free?

HELLFINDER is on NetGalley right now, available to everyone with an account! Writing for a small publisher means there's not always money available for promo like NetGalley, so I paid my own money to get the book listed because I think word-of-mouth is one of the best ways to promote artistic work. I want lots of people to be able to read the novel, especially those without a lot of money to spend on physical copies and folks who live in countries where they might not be able to find HELLFINDER at a bookstore or library. If you're a new reviewer who gets rejected by the bigger publishers, rest assured HELLFINDER is available to everyone. If you have trouble accessing it, email me at pstokesbooks [at] gmail [dot] com and let me know. I'll do my best to get you sorted.

A mood board collage featuring images of a young guy in a knit hat with long blonde hair, a smiling teen girl in outerwear surrounded by snow, a mysterious-looking older woman with a gray braid, a gray church with a tall steeple, brilliant green Northern Lights, a man with flaming wings, an ice cave, and a team of sled dogs. The HELLFINDER cover, featuring a girl looking at a fiery volcano, is in the center.

Last but not least, the contest:

I wanna do whatever I can to get the word out about the book and e-galley, so I cooked up a little Rafflecopter with that in mind. Winner gets a $20 gift card to Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Etsy, or another retailer/restaurant of your choice. International folks are welcome, but I may have to limit the gift card selections. If nothing else I will order you a book from The Book Depository or PayPal you $20 USD. Contest ends March 31st.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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