My first novel, Thunderstone, has a much longer history than Soulshifter, but then, breaking in is the hardest part of getting published. I sent small batches of query letters every month to try and land an agent for Thunderstone, researching more agents as I waited for replies (or should I say rejections). I don't even know how many times I revised the story—particularly the beginning—because when an agent only wants three pages, the story has to hook them right away. I entered contests and absorbed every ounce of critique that came my way. I entered Thunderstone into the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest, made it to the quarterfinals, and won a manuscript critique from Publisher's Weekly, who really liked my story. So I added the PW quotes to my query letter and expanded my prospects to include small presses, and one day I got the long-awaited response, "I think this is a good fit for us" with an added "Is it a series?", which it is. After its release in 2013, Thunderstone went on to be an IndieFab Book of the Year finalist.
Throughout the query process I had continued to write, including a novel that I wrote during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Once I finished the final edits and Thunderstone went to print, I had a little time and decided to go back and check out that NaNo novel I'd written in thirty days. What I expected to be mildly amusing was actually the makings of a good story, so I fleshed it out. A year later, when discussing timing for the Thunderstone sequel with my publisher, I mentioned that I had a story already complete and edited so she asked me to send it to her. She loved it, and thus, Soulshifter was slated for release a year later.
Now, as I diligently work on the Thunderstone sequel, a fall 2016 release, early reviewers of Soulshifter have asked if I've thought about a sequel for that as well.
Looks like I'm going to be busy...
About The Book
Author: Barbara Pietron
Publisher: Scribe Publishing Company
Publication Date: November 24, 2015
Format: Paperback - 290 pages / eBook / PDF
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Sixteen-year-old Jack Ironwood knew exactly what he wanted. Until he got it. Jack was content to stay unnoticed by pretty and popular track star, Natalie Segetich, until her best friend Emma disappears. Natalie swears something took Emma, and though most people write Natalie off as traumatized and confused, Jack is a soulshifter and he knows the human-stealing Enuuki—hell's messengers—are real. As a soulshifter, Jack can cross into the underworld so he sees Emma's rescue as an opportunity to prove himself a valuable member of his transcendental sect—and a way to secure a future otherwise out of his reach. Although he needs Natalie's help to prepare for the mission, Jack intends to go to the underworld alone. But as a viable plan takes shape, it's clear the best chance of success means Natalie must accompany him. On the eve of the quest, when Jack is promised the hand of a respected elder's daughter—a dream come true—he realizes he's no longer sure what he wants. But it's too late to back out, not with the sect and Natalie counting on him. Pursued by the dark lord's henchmen and ghastly mutant creatures, Jack and Natalie struggle to come out ahead in a battle and barter for souls. In the end, Jack will have to decide his own fate, because nothing short of a deal with the devil will get all three of them out of hell alive.
Revelations from the Dark Realm
Feedback shrieked from the electric guitar amp, annihilating the harmonious blend of drums, bass guitar and electric piano. Jack winced as he fumbled for the volume knob on his guitar, pretending he didn’t see Tommy, the lead singer, shoot him a furious glare. Head down, Jack concentrated on the next few chord progressions, until Tommy launched into his signature vocal screaming. Then Jack stole a glance to his left and caught the eye of his best friend, Wes, who skillfully delivered the pulse of the track on his bass guitar. Wes lifted his eyebrows and Jack answered with a slight shrug and an apologetic frown.
It was one thing if Jack screwed up this opportunity for himself, but Wes had talked the band into giving Jack a chance this summer when they'd lost their lead guitarist to college. Jack didn't want to embarrass Wes, or give Tommy a reason to give his friend a hard time. The singer hadn't wanted Wes in the band either, but when the other members heard Wes play and realized he was a wizard on the bass guitar, Tommy had been out-voted. It had taken two years for Wes to earn the lead singer's grudging respect and Jack hated to mess that up.
They finished the set and Jack ducked out of his guitar strap, leaning the instrument against the cinderblock wall of Fletch's—the drummer's—basement. He ran both hands through his thick curls, for the first time thankful that his mom had insisted he get a haircut before school started. Shoulder-length for most of the summer, his dark brown mane was now tamed to a mass of loose curls that ended at the base of his jaw—not as rock and roll, but certainly cooler.
He turned and nearly collided with Tommy. "What's up with the feedback, Ironwood? We've got a gig in two days!"
"Sorry, man." Jack shook his head. He noticed John, the keyboardist, give him and Tommy a wide berth as he beat a hasty retreat. "Just having an off day. I'm low on sleep."
"Well you better get it together by Monday. A lot of people come out to the park on Labor Day, and we don't need you making the rest of us look like amateurs." He spun on his heel and stomped up the steps before Jack could reply.
Fletch offered Jack a sports drink. "You've been playing good all summer. Just don't choke when you get on stage." He laughed, but his eyes were serious.
"Thanks." Jack took the plastic bottle and cracked the lid open. "I'll be fine. I promise." He took a long drink, letting the slightly salty, citrusy liquid soothe his dry tongue and throat before bending to put his guitar into its case.
An intermittent chink of metal on metal sounded from the base of the stairwell. "Ready?"
Jack glanced up to see Wes tossing a bundle of keys into the air and then catching them. "Yep." He noticed that Wes had decided to leave his guitar at Fletch's. They were going to rehearse again tomorrow, but Jack felt like he ought to go home and get in some extra practice. He followed his friend out to the minivan, which smelled like the burgers and fries they'd eaten on the way to rehearsal, and loaded his gear into the back.
After Jack plopped into the passenger seat and closed the door, Wes spoke up. "Dude." He drew out the solitary word and added a sigh, conveying both disappointment and sympathy.
"I know," Jack said quickly. "I'm not a hundred percent today. Yesterday was my end-of-summer spirit-walk."
Buy The Book:
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/soulshifter-barbara-pietron/1121757175?ean=9780991602124
Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking here: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/17507791-soulshifter-by-barbara-pietron
About The Author
After years in the corporate world, Barbara Pietron found herself with a second chance to decide what she wanted to be when she grew up. Her lifetime love of books and the written word returned one answer: writer. Drawing from her technical writing experience, she began by writing non-fiction magazine pieces and achieved both regional and national publication before trying her hand at her true passion, fiction. In addition to Soulshifter, Barbara is also the author of Thunderstone, Book One of the Legacy in Legend series and a prequel to Thunderstone, Heart of Ice, is available in e-book format. Book Two of the Legacy in Legend series is slated for fall of 2016. You can visit Barbara's website at www.barbarapietron.com
Connect with Barbara Pietron:
Virtual Book Tour