Rachel R. Smith–Author, scientist, lover of books, video games, roses, minerals, and all things shiny. Home of the Records of the Ohanzee epic fantasy series. Welcome to my imaginary and not-so-imaginary worlds!
Today is the last day to take advantage of the full series sale on Amazon! Don’t miss your chance to get the e-book versions of Book 1 for free and Books 2-4 for $1.99 each. The sale lasts until 11:59pm PDT Friday, April 28.
In case you missed them before, here are the links:
I’m so excited that the release day for Reflection: Dragon’s Bane (Records of the Ohanzee Book 4) has finally arrived! The ebook version is now available on Amazon and the paperback will be available shortly. I see a few eager readers even snagged early copies when the book posted ahead of schedule yesterday afternoon. Thank you!! ❤
Today’s release of Dragon’s Bane not only means a new book is out, it also means that the Reflection story arc is now complete! *cue the cake and celebrations* Though this brings an ending to Nerissa’s story, it is not the end. New challenges lie in wait for her in the second story arc, Revenant, which I’ve already started working on.
As a special thank you for all of your support, I’ve included the prologue to Book 5 at the end of the E-book version of Reflection: Dragon’s Bane. I hope you’ll enjoy the sneak peek! But be warned, that prologue has a major cliffhanger (don’t all prologues?), so prepare to get hooked. ^_-
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, today also kicks off the “Four Days, Four Books” sale. Here’s the details:
The E-book version of Reflection: The Stranger in the Mirror (Records of the Ohanzee Book 1) is FREE through 11:59pm PDT on April 28.
The E-book version of Reflection: Harbinger of the Phoenix (Records of the Ohanzee Book 2) is $1.99 through 11:59pm PDT on April 28.
The E-book version of Reflection: Thorn of the White Rose (Records of the Ohanzee
Book 3) is $1.99 through 11:59pm PDT on April 28.
The E-book version of Reflection: Dragon’s Bane (Records of the Ohanzee Book 4) is $1.99 through 11:59pm PDT on April 28.
This is the first time any of the books, other than Book 1, have been available at a discount, so if you’ve been waiting for the series to be complete before starting it–now is the perfect opportunity!
There’s only one week left until the release day for Reflection: Dragon’s Bane (Records of the Ohanzee Book 4)! I am so excited and also frantically busy at the same time. 😄
Don’t forget there will be a special sale to celebrate from April 25-28. The ebook version of Book 1 will be available for free, while books 2, 3 and 4 will be reduced from their usual $4.99 to $1.99.
In the meantime, if you’re on Instagram, be sure to stop by my feed and enter for the giveaway. It will be open for entries until midnight EDT April 26–just look for the post with this picture for details! Good luck!
Goodreads members–giveaways for signed paperback copies of Records of the Ohanzee, Books 1, 2 and 3 will be open starting today and continuing through April 6. Login to your account and use the links below to head over to Goodreads and enter for a chance to win. And remember: Goodreads only allows giveaways to offer one book at a time, so be sure to click on all three links if you want a chance to win each of the books.
Hello again, dear readers! It’s been a little while since my last post because I’ve been completely occupied with getting Dragon’s Bane ready for release. But the time has finally come for the release date announcement! And that date is:
April 25, 2017
I’m disappointed that I had to push the date back from my original target, which was the end of this month. However, I’m really happy with the additional content and revisions that I’ve been able to incorporate as a result. So for me, it’s a bittersweet balance. I’m feeling a lot of pressure to release the book as quickly as possible because I know that many of you are eagerly waiting. But, ultimately, I want to give the first story arc the best conclusion it can have, and I think the additional time is necessary to achieve that goal.
Since I’ve had to push back the release date, my way of apologizing for the delay is to offer a “Four Days, Four Books Sale” which will run on April 25, 26, 27, and 28. On those four dates, the ebook version of Book 1 will be available for free, and the ebook versions of Book 2, Book 3, and Dragon’s Bane (Book 4) will be on sale for $1.99 each. While I frequently offer Book 1 for free as an introduction to the series, I have never before offered any of my other books at a discount. I hope you’ll take advantage of the sale to get your copies of Dragon’s Bane, and maybe even tell a friend who hasn’t read the series yet!
In the meantime, I’ve arranged for another set of Goodreads giveaways for paperback copies of each of the three books. Those will kick off on March 30 and run through April 6. As always, when the date gets closer, I’ll post an announcement with links!
I’ve seen lots of posts on social media over the years where readers put together their “dream cast” of actors and actresses to play characters from their favorite series–those they think most resemble the way they picture the characters in their heads. I’ve never been the type to do this (partially because I don’t watch enough live action TV and movies to know many actors anyway), but it was recently brought to my attention that there is a dead ringer out there for one of the characters from my books. Which character is it? Why, it’s Kuma!
For those of you who haven’t read the series, or just need a refresher, here’s the first introduction of Kuma from Reflection: Harbinger of the Phoenix, Chapter 19:
“Welcome to Rhea,” Alden called out heartily from the porch. Nerissa was startled to see a bear cub sitting at his feet. Or at least, she thought it was a bear cub until it echoed Alden’s greeting with a cheerful “arf.” He reached down and scooped up the dog, whose tail wagged so vigorously that its whole back end swished side to side.
Guys, this cutie is even named Kuma! What are the odds? (Ok, well, realistically, the odds are pretty high, considering Kuma is the Japanese word for bear.) But seriously could there be a better match for Alden’s adorable sidekick?
It’s time for another free e-book promo day! Hop on over to Amazon before midnight tonight (2/15/17 11:59PM PST) to get the e-book version of of Reflection: The Stranger in the Mirror for free. https://www.amazon.com/dp/b00xgyo2c4
I’ve been hard at work writing and revising Dragon’s Bane, making the final push to get the finished manuscript completed for release in March. So for today’s post, I thought it would be fun to pair a sneak peek into the story with one of the real life objects that inspired it. But before I post the sneak peek (spoiler free!), let me add this disclaimer: my editor/proofreader has not gone over this section of the story yet. Please forgive any typos and grammatical errors! (I have a feeling I’ll be getting a phone call from her about five minutes after I post this though…haha)
The central square of Maze was flooded with vendors and festival-goers, its lines of stalls and kiosks overflowing into the adjoining streets like the sprawling arms of a giant octopus. Every path was bathed in the flickering candlelight of multi-colored paper lanterns that were suspended in neat rows between street posts, which cast the area in a rainbow of hues. Beneath those lights, the merry citizens of Maze passed from one patch of color to the next in a seemingly unbroken flow as they gradually made their way toward the towering bonfire that served as the centerpiece of the Festival of Flames.
Some of the revelers cradled bags of newly discovered baubles, while some had their hands full of delicious treats, but every one carried with them a folding fan. The fans—traditional gifts exchanged during the Festival of Fans in the springtime—were to be thrown into the bonfire as a symbol of the end of warm weather and the onset of winter.
And somewhere amidst the waving fans and laughter was Nerissa, standing and gaping in open-mouthed wonderment at the array of peculiar glass columns on display in front of her. The columns were filled with a clear liquid, and a dozen spherical bulbs floated at various levels within—each half-filled with brightly colored liquids as well.
Rian leaned around the display and made a face at her through one of the cylinders, his features comically enlarged by the curvature of the glass. At the sight of him, Nerissa clapped one hand over her mouth and looked away as she stifled a giggle.
“What are you laughing at?” he demanded, rounding the table to rejoin her with an impish grin on his face.
“I’m not laughing! As a matter of fact I’m trying very hard not to laugh,” she replied. Her cheeks twitched under the strain of maintaining a neutral expression. “Would you prefer I say instead that I find myself feeling impressed once again by your ‘stunning’ good looks.”
Rian let out a huff of feigned indignation and playfully jabbed her with his elbow. As he did so, the table holding the columns shook ever so slightly, evoking a gentle rattle from the tiny, floating bulbs.
The sound was minute, particularly in comparison to the din of the crowd, yet it summoned the vendor’s attention as surely as if they had struck a gong. She hastened over to them, wringing her apron between her hands as she spoke. “Be careful! Termometro lentos are very delicate!”
How the woman had heard such a faint sound over the crowd was a mystery to Nerissa, but a flush of shame colored her cheeks anyway. She bowed her head apologetically, and beside her Rian did the same. “We should have been more cautious. Please accept our apologies. What exactly is a termometro lento? I’ve never seen such things before.”
“You must be foreigners.” The woman lifted her chin in a show of pride, and if Nerissa weren’t mistaken, her Marisianne accent suddenly became even more pronounced.
“Everyone in the Twin Cities knows about my termometro lentos. To describe them in the most simplistic of terms, they are thermometers.”
So a fun bit of personal trivia: the very first thing I bought with my first-ever paycheck (from working part time at a science and nature store at the mall) was a termometro lento (termo for short), specifically the tall one on the right in the photo below. I had my eye on it for well over a year and it took months of working to save up enough money to buy it. The scene in the sneak peek was inspired in part by events that took place on the day I finally bought mine.
“My termo” was the last one at the store–the teal color had been discontinued and our store happened to be the last in Ohio that had it. It was on display with several other termos of varying heights and colors, as it had been ever since the day I first laid eyes on it. Everyone working knew I was finally planning to buy my precious termo that night.
And then, about an hour before closing time, there came a great and terrible crash of breaking glass. Not the tiny tinkle described in the paragraphs above, but the jaw-clenching, chill-inducing horror of multiple fragile things falling like dominoes. Everyone in the store froze, someone gasped. A chemical aroma filled the air. I turned, already knowing and fearing what I would see. A woman had bumped the display with her purse, sending the termos tumbling down, one after another. Every single one on the display was broken.
Every single one except for mine, which had been miraculously spared from a shattered end.
It was taken from the display and secured in the backroom until the end of the night, and has been treated with an abundance of care for almost 20 years since. It currently enjoys a place of prominence next to a smaller and more recently acquired termo on the fireplace mantel.
And what exactly are these termometro lentos? You may also have heard them referred to by another name: “Galileo thermometer” or “Galilean thermometer.”
The termometro lento (latin for “slow thermometer”) operates based on the principle of fluid buoyancy. This is the principle that states that the density of a fluid changes in proportion to its temperature. In general, as liquids warm, their density decreases, and as they cool, their density increases. The clear liquid used in termos is not water. It’s usually ethanol, although other organic liquids can be used as well.
So in the case of the termometro lento, the orbs floating inside the glass column will rise or sink based on the changing density of the surrounding liquid, which is in turn influenced by the ambient temperature of whatever room the termo is in. The small bulbs have been calibrated and tagged to indicate what temperature they will move at. That means you can tell what temperature it is in the room by looking at the tag on the lowest bulb that is still floating. In the picture below, you can see that my living room is currently 72F. Just like the thermostat says it’s supposed to be.
If you’re wondering what is the point of having termos of varying heights, the answer is that taller termos can hold more floating spheres, which in turn means that they can measure the temperature in small degree increments. The orbs in my tall termo measure in 2 degree increments, while the orbs in my small termo measure in 5 degree increments. Basically, more orbs = more accuracy.
So, are termometro lentos any more accurate than our more modern thermometers? Nope. But let’s be realistic–is there any more beautiful way to tell the temperature? Nope. Not at all!
Happy National Reading day everyone! The celebration is meant as a time to encourage reading in younger children, but we’re all children at heart, right? I hope that you’ll take a few minutes tonight to read to your little ones, or just spend some quality time with a good book on your own! ^_-