Preorder Alert: The Golden City, Book 2 of the Brighton Duology

I’m so excited to let you guys know that THE GOLDEN CITY is now up for pre-order! I swear I don’t say this to toot my own horn, but I truly believe it’s my best book yet; this one is an edge-of-your-seat, fast-paced page-turner and I think you’re going to love it! While Reina sees the King’s side of things inside the city in the first book, the sequel introduces a new side of the kingdom, including rebels and other allies. If you like your dystopia action-packed, this one’s a winner!

Need to read book 1 first? Get THE BLOOD KING and learn all about Brighton’s dark doings to become a glorious kingdom.

The Golden City, the sequel to The Blood King, releases September 4, 2018.

Pre-Order Now for Only $0.99:

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Down with the Blood King.

Reina Torres and Princess Helena just barely managed to escape the city of Brighton, thanks to the rebels. They now find themselves at the heart of the revolution, planning missions and infiltrating Brighton’s network. An enraged King Magnus doesn’t just want Reina and the rebels to pay, but to suffer; if it’s war they want, it’s war they’ll get.

With Helena by her side, Reina wants so much more than survival. But to live, she’ll have to go back inside the Tower, the last place she ever wanted to see again. No matter how far they run or how hard they fight, it seems their paths are destined to intertwine with the golden city … and the Blood King.

Fans of The Darkest Minds, Hunger Games, and Divergent will love this Young Adult dystopian romance.

Preorder the exciting conclusion of the fate of Brighton in THE GOLDEN CITY, Book 2 of the Brighton Duology, NOW!

Why Authors Love Reviews

Photography Workshop

I did that thing again. That thing I said I shouldn’t do, but I did it anyway…I read a review for The Blood King.

I know, I know. I’ve said it before and I’ll swear to it most days, that authors should not read their reviews. And I usually adhere well to that rule. The issue is that The Blood King is such new territory for me that I have no idea how readers will react, so any time I see a new review, I practically trip over myself going to read it. (Long, thy name is Masochist.) So when I saw I’d hit Review #20, naturally, the first thing I do? Drop everything and run over to the review page.

This review, to my heart’s extreme delight, turned out to be a 5 star, and was the kind of review where the reader just GOT IT (yep, all caps bold intensity). I’ll share it here, not to brag (I swear), but because talking about it out of context could get confusing. Here’s the review in full:

“This book is an amazing piece of writing. It’s a tapestry of a novel that at first glance is an entertaining and enthralling dystopian adventure with a villain that is easy to hate and a heroine that you want to cheer on. Then you notice that woven throughout are thought provoking issues relevant to today such as gender equality, lbgtq rights and political differences. This author is someone that will be getting my money for years to come because reading this was all it took for me to become a loyal fan.”

Let me just go ahead and tell you, I was having a day. Work’s been slam-ass busy; I’d gotten my feelings hurt over a two star review a week earlier (eventually talking myself out of the funk; authors do too get to have political thoughts, by the way); and my headspace is just a little wonky lately. So when I read this review, at just the right time I needed to read it, from a reader who simply got it?

I actually teared up at my desk. (Not like, bawling baby sobs, but just that relieved oh thank god kind of way.) This person, who I’ve never met in my life, suddenly became my incredibly powerful reminder as to why I write at all, on why I wanted to write this particular story. I knew going in that covering themes of LGBTQ and POC, and teetering on political, readers could either love it or hate it. I know my stories aren’t for everyone, and that’s okay. But this was simply the story I had to write. (I mean, for real guys, I was compelled. This story flowed out unlike any other.) For a reader to convey exactly how I wanted it to come across, and to take the time to put it into words, hit my heart hard. I was by no means considering quitting writing or anything before reading it, but afterwards there was a sudden pep to my step I couldn’t get any other way.

I don’t speak for all authors, of course, but I can attest that we don’t necessarily want reviews because it feeds our egos. For some, sure, but for most of us, reviews are more about tangible results of connection. It’s validation. For however brief a time, we shared a creation that meant something to someone else. They not only accepted our art, but loved it. The artists’ way, right? For authors, it’s incredibly rewarding when readers “click” with our stories (which is why it’s so devastating when they don’t), and that’s why, despite all my badgering you about not reading reviews, I occasionally break my own rule.

Because you know what? I guarantee it’s going to make me sit down and get to work in some way. Maybe it’s writing another story, or marketing the one the reader loved, or whatever; in any case, you’re motivated and that’s good enough for today. A good review isn’t important just for the sake of reviews, or rankings, or algorithms. It also means encouragement, motivation, and confidence. Readers, I hope you understand just how much your reviews mean to us –one sentence, ten paragraphs, no matter what, authors are always grateful.

(PS–Thank you to the reviewer who left that kind note for me on Amazon today. You’ve made my entire month.)

Release Day: THE BLOOD KING by Liz Long

THE BLOOD KING, Book 1 of The Brighton Duology, releases today! I’m really excited to share this novel with everyone, and hope you love it as much as I do. Book 2 will continue the duology this September! FYI, this is a YA dystopian novel with LGBT themes. Get the special $0.99 release week deal before it’s too late!

Synopsis:

In the kingdom of Brighton, a President-turned-King offers poor teens the chance to join KEY, the King’s Education for Youth. Seventeen-year-old Reina Torres jumps at the chance to be of service to her country, wanting to learn more about Brighton’s history and future through the Media industry.

The King himself takes an interest in Reina, offering private interviews; he soon commands her to marry his cruel son. Reina, however, cannot ignore her growing feelings for Iris, a fellow KEY student, despite knowing the laws. Reina discovers refusal means punishment much worse than death, and why King Magnus hasn’t aged in decades, thanks to his KEY program.

Buy now for only $0.99 for a limited time (goes to $3.99 after April 17th):

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A Particular Theme in THE BLOOD KING

There’s been something weighing heavy on my mind these last few weeks as I prepare for the release of THE BLOOD KING. And while I’ve struggled with how exactly I want to say things, I think it’s important now more than ever.

I am an LGBTQ ally. 

Full stop. I have a list of reasons that I won’t just shout into the void here. The biggest reason: Many of my closest friends are part of the community, and I support and love them. I know this and they know this, but those who don’t know me should, too, because it’s simply part of me.

It’s important that I say this not to make a stand or get into some political or moral blog battle, but because a huge theme in THE BLOOD KING is about and for LGBTQ. I don’t want readers to be surprised or offended–and quite frankly, don’t want anyone berating the book because of it. It’s still a Young Adult dystopian novel also featuring a King, after all. You can not like a book due to its plot or writing style or the like. But if it’s just because LGBTQ isn’t something you’re into, I think it’s important to be upfront about what you’ll read in this new release and know that it might upset you. I think I need to say it now because while it’s not a surprise to anyone who knows me in person, I tend to be quiet online and don’t invite negativity into my conversations. No one is going to change my mind on this matter, so there’s no use in confrontation.

Reina Torres is a 17-year-old girl who also happens to like other girls. This is part of her, but not her sole defining characteristic. She’s also sarcastic and strong, enthusiastic and hopeful. She enjoys reading and cooking, wants to change the world for the better, and turns out to be braver than she ever thought she could be. When King Magnus attempts to force her to marry his cruel son, it’s obviously not what she wants. Plenty of other things happen along the way, but in short, Reina Torres knows exactly who she is.

When beginning the outlines of THE BLOOD KING, it was important to me that Reina already be very aware of her preferences. I want readers, particularly teens, to know it’s okay to struggle and it’s okay to know, and it’s okay to be exactly as you are. Most of the story is about Reina’s struggle, not with liking other girls, but fighting to be herself in a world where she’s told not to. The kingdom of Brighton is dangerous for those risking their lives for love, and Reina is terrified–but she’s probably going to do it anyway, because in the end, she has to be true to herself.

By the end of Book 1, I want readers to feel hope. Hope for Brighton, hope for our own real world, hope in whatever struggles they face. It sounds so hokey when I put it that way, but that perhaps childlike optimism is why I wrote this duology in the first place. Ultimately, I want all readers to know it’s okay to be exactly who you are. And for those who identify with LGBTQ, know that you have an ally in me.