Whirling on WIPpet Wednesday

What a whirlwind this past week has been! My brain is just buzzing.

I’ve made mega-strides on getting EoD one step closer to Beta reading status. Those of you who have read the first two, if you’re interested in filling a Beta spot, please let me know. I foresee having this beast ready for reading by the end of the month.

On the BiS front, I’ve started up a street team which is something I’ve never tried before. I’m feeling very optimistic and really enthusiastic about it. If you didn’t get an e-mail invite to join, and really want to be part of it — check you inbox, check your junk mail, if you see nothing, let me know. I am limiting the numbers, just to keep it from getting too crazy. Already a lost cause in some regards. It’s in its infancy, with the really big push not scheduled to begin until September. For anyone who wants to help spread the word without joining the street team, I’ll have a banner with the pertinent info and some other graphics you can share in the coming weeks.

Remember, if you want to stay up to date on the latest, like my author fb page. That’s where I’ll be sharing a lot of what’s happening in the writing world. I also share posts, images, and humorous tidbits on writing, reading, and anything else that catches my ey.

Okay, on to today’s WIPpet. It happens to be the hub’s birthday, but I don’t have any excerpts related to that to share in his honor. Instead — flying monkeys, confetti, horns tooting, some version of the Happy Birthday song and — back to the real reason we’re here on this auspicious day. WIPpet time! Pulling from EoD again, I went to the current Chapter Eight (month), down 15 paragraphs (year) to give you the following twelve (day) paragraphs. This takes place shortly after last week’s very short excerpt.

Berk glanced past her. The men had dispersed, one going into a nearby shop, one heading back down the avenue, and the other crossing toward the residential area of the city. He blew out a sigh and relaxed his hold on his sword. Goddess above, just because someone wore a woolen cloak to ward off the chill didn’t make them a marauder. He rubbed a hand across his forehead, stopping when he caught Ciara’s concerned look.

“I’m fine,” he said, before she could ask the question poised on her lips. He forced a bit of false cheer through the irritation, and resumed his role of guide, sweeping his arm out to indicate the row of merchant shops that lined the avenue. “You’ll want to come back here during the Springtide Festival. The shopkeepers try to outdo one another with decorations. It’s even better in the evening. They spare no expense in lighting their shops. Some even enlist magic users to create… ” He trailed off, his smile fading under Ciara’s continued scrutiny. “What?”

“Did you use the herbs I left the other night? The ones to help you sleep?”


Ciara’s eyes narrowed.

“I thought you wanted a tour of the city,” Berk said. “If you’ve changed your mind, we can go back.”

“I –“

“Hold there, Guardsmen.” The order came from behind them, in the direction of the castle.

Six soldiers approached, all wearing the amber uniforms of the Council Guard. Berk recognized their leader; Captain Marshall, a few years older than him, and just highborn enough to feel entitled. He brushed past Jorny and Pehl to stop in front of Berk, flanked by two of his men. The other three took up positions around them as though expecting trouble.

In the hierarchy of Nisair’s assorted military factions, the Emperor’s Guard held the top rung. The Council Guard, a notch below in all but their own eyes. As the chosen guards for the Imperial Mages, they felt they should be accorded more respect and a higher degree of authority than the Emperor’s Guard. In Berk’s experience, none felt that more strongly than Captain Marshall.

Berk faced the captain, putting an arm back to tuck Ciara behind him. Marshall’s eyes flicked her way, his nose twitching as though he smelled something offensive.

“She’s to come with us,” he said, drawing his gaze back to Berk, an obvious challenge in his expression and stance. “Stand aside.”

Have a great day!

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Looking Forward on WIPpet Wednesday

Happiest of Wednesdays, one and all! You know, summer is busy for me. I make no apologies. And that’s why I’ve been somewhat absent of late. This month isn’t too bad, September and October will be hectic, and then things start to smooth out. Along with working my dog, going to Cow Camp, keeping up with projects around the farm, and life-in-general, I’ve been thrown eye-balls deep in editing/redrafting on both Edge of Darkness and Bound in Shadow. I’m getting notes back from Alphas on EoD, and last week I received the first half of edits on BiS. Exciting all the way around. And, in case you missed it on Twitter and FB, there is this (if you’d like to share at any time, let me know, I have a similar graphic with my name on it):

Which pretty much makes it an official thing. Even though no date has been set in stone, it’s looking like some time in November for the release. Some of you will be getting an e-mail from me as I work through my marketing ideas. I’ve got plans. Many, many plans. Those of you not included on the email are still near and dear to me (and Driev) and I’ll be announcing ways you can help as well. Or, feel free to contact me with your own suggestions. I will have ARCs available for anyone who would like to read and review. If you want to be on that list, drop me a pm or put it in the comments.

EoD should also be released before the year’s end, so you Bolin and Ciara fans can stop panicking. It’s coming. I swear. And I’m feeling far better about it than I did early on. This one quite thoroughly beat the stuffing out of me.

In any case, it’s Wednesday, and that means WIPpets. For the time being I’ve had to push Roe and Fader to the back burner. Don’t worry, just like Arnold, they’ll be Bach.

*waits for groans to die down*

Moving on… since I’m drafting on Edge of Darkness I’ve decided to take my WIPpet from that. I went to what is currently Chapter Eight for the month, and I grabbed the 5th paragraph for the day.

She arched an eyebrow at him. “That’s it? Sorry?”


And now I’m off. Have a great rest of your week.
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Cover Reveal Alicia a Short Story by Gloria Weber

The WIPpeteers are really getting it out there lately. Today, I share in spreading the word for the upcoming release of Gloria Weber’s short story Alicia due out August 18 by Solstice Publishing’s imprint Summer Solstice. Here’s a bit of a teaser…

aliciapromobody2Oooh… murder mystery with a twist. As you can see from the trailer…

Mark you calendars and add Alicia to your TBR list!

A bit about the Author.
Gloria Weber lives in Ohio with her husband, son, daughter, and many pets. She has been writing for publication since March 2006 with over a dozen titles published. Her favorite letter is L.

You can connect with Gloria via her Website, Twitter @GloriaWeberG+, Facebook, and Goodreads.


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Cover Reveal First Choice, Second Chance a Romance by Fallon Brown

Today I’m sharing fellow WIPpeteer’s Fallon Brown‘s cover reveal for her novel First Choice, Second Chance, the first in her small town contemporary romance series Kurztown, set to be released 8/18/15. And, just to keep you in suspense just a bit longer, the blurb:

One wrong choice doesn’t have to lead to another

Seven years ago, he watched her drive away.

Lila Corelli was the love of Mason Akeley’s life, but she chose a music career and another man over him. He thought it would destroy him, but he’s been scraping by; on the family farm and in life. Now, she’s back in town, and he feels like he’s barely hanging on.

She made a wrong choice.

Lila knows she made a mistake. She thought she had been on the right path; to her career, love, her life. Instead, she never saw the disaster one wrong choice could cause. Now, with everything gone, she returns to her hometown, hoping to find her way to a new path.

Mason’s love for Lila has never died, but he’s afraid to open himself to be hurt again. Lila chose the wrong future once, and she worries she’ll be making another bad choice that will only lead to more destruction. But, if they can untangle their past from their present, they just might be able to find their future together.

Okay, ready for it?

The great cover, designed by Marianne Nowicki (

The great cover, designed by Marianne Nowicki (

And to add to your excitement, an excerpt of your very own.

He held up a hand to stop her. “Give me a shot of Jack.” He caught Lila at the edge of his vision. “Actually make it a double.”

Jess hesitated then poured the drink and passed it over to him. He took the first sip and winced at the burn. He wasn’t sure if he would ever get used to it. The whiskey warmed the parts of him that had gone cold with Lila’s arrival. He kept his eyes focused on the wall across the bar as he took the second sip. He still knew the moment she stepped up beside him. He didn’t know if her scent still lived in his memory and he recognized it, or if it went deeper. He didn’t even have to hear her voice. It was in his head, in his dreams, every day and every night. When she ordered a drink, it twisted around his heart again.

His fingers tightened around the glass. He was almost afraid it would shatter right there in his fist. He dragged in some air through his nose, but it only came back out sounded strangled. He started to turn away. He needed to put some space between them. He couldn’t handle having her so close. As soon as he took a step, her hand was on his arm, the muscles in it cording tighter. “Mason.”

He was going to explode, shatter into tiny pieces no one would ever be able to put back together again. He had to get away. He didn’t even respond to her saying his name. He set the glass on the top of the bar. It must have been harder than he planned because a crack sounded when he did it. He didn’t even look back. “Put it on my tab, Jess. All of it.”

His head pounded. He didn’t think it was the alcohol or the music. It was Lila. It had always been Lila. He pushed out through the door. Then braced his hand against the side of the building and squeezed his eyes shut. The door opened again, and he didn’t even look behind him. Instead he strode across the small parking lot to his truck. She called his name again, but he didn’t stop. He checked his mirror to make sure she wasn’t right behind him, he certainly didn’t hate her that much. She still stood close to the building. She had her arms wrapped around her, and stared after him. His eyes started to burn. Then, he backed out of his parking spot and pulled out of the lot. The gravel spun under his tires, but he didn’t care. He wanted to put distance between them. Before he lost the grip he barely kept on his sanity.

Awesome stuff! Add it on Goodreads or pre-order now.

A bit about the author: Fallon Brown was born and raised in a tiny town in the northwestern corner of Pennsylvania. At one time, she dreamed of having a cabin in the woods or mountains where she could be left alone to write. Instead she spent three years studying psychology before realizing that wasn’t for her. She now lives outside of a slightly larger small town in the same corner of her home state with her husband, two children, dog, and cat.

She spends her days interfering in the lives of fictional characters while trying to keep a semblance of a clean house. Often the clean house bit fails.

Follow her on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, and don’t forget to check out her blog for all the latest news and updates.



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Bound in Shadow in the Land of Tradition

Wednesday I mentioned I would give you the final wrap-up on the agenting of Bound in Shadow ~ The Coinblade Chronicles. A while back I wrote this post which summed up BiS~CBC‘s history, and my foray into the world of Traditional Publishing. Not my first time in that rodeo, but a lot has changed. And nothing has changed. *sigh* It’s still many hoops and much time with little result.

Anyhow, if you want the background, follow the link above to the original post. My update is thus:

  • A total of 40 queries sent out.
  • 1 partial request which then resulted in a rejection.
  • 12 form rejections
  • 27 closed-no-response

The CNR designation seems to be the norm among many comments on QueryTracker. They rank right up there with those who receive a form rejection more than a year after they sent the original query. No, that is not a typo. More. Than. A. Year.


Okay, I get that agents are people, too. Messages overwhelm their in-box. Perhaps some get lost in cyber-space delivered by digital turtles fighting a head wind. But… a year?!!? Because we authors have nothing better to do than wait patiently for the wheels of tradition to make one small rotation, right?

Please, don’t think I’m slamming traditional publishing or literary agents. If anything, I’m slamming the process. And (at least for now) the door on it. That could always re-open. I’m not locking it. I’ve just used up my store of patience with it and moving on.



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Where’s Driev? And Who Is He Anyhow?

I promised an update on Bound in Shadow ~ The Coinblade Chronicles, and what better time than now since it has found its way firmly back onto the center of my plate.

I did a little research and it seems I began sharing bits of CBC for WIPpet Wednesdays in November of 2013. Holy Crap! Wow. Um… eek. Anyhow, the first post is Here if you want to see it. It’s the first book I’ve written in first person, but Driev Talbert, the main character, started talking to me, insisting I tell his story. Driev is not someone I want to argue with, so write I did. Wrote, finished, polished, sent off to Betas and then…

Well, before I go too far, here’s a rough blurb to introduce Driev to those of you who haven’t yet had the pleasure.

 Life is full of choices, some easier than others. For Driev Talbert a grey moral code can make things much more complicated. In fact, for Driev, choosing between facing his own personal demons, or sacrificing an innocent boy, isn’t as simple as it would seem.

After spending the past five years in the underbelly of Mossrae, intent on leaving nothing more than a rotting corpse in the gutter, the last thing Driev wants is to return to his old life, no matter how privileged it had been. But the gods do so love a good laugh. Especially, it seems, when delivered at Driev’s expense. So it should have been no surprise to him when his attempt to save a friend from hanging doesn’t go quite the way he planned, leaving him saddled with a street urchin drawing all the wrong kinds of interest. Interest which puts Driev back into the lap of the Coinblades, the elite of Mossrae’s Shadow Guilds. While being on the wrong side of any Shadow Guild isn’t a laughing matter, being on the wrong side of the Coinblades is suicide. For Driev, whose history with them is one of the memories he tries very hard to avoid, death would be preferable. Even a slow torturous one.

Finding himself pulled back into a life he desperately wanted to leave behind, and dumped into the middle of political games with deadly consequences, Driev must finally come to terms with his past before it consumes him, and with it the last thing he holds dear.

I originally began CBC  for a contest. I started too late and the deadline was way too tight, but once into it, I couldn’t stop. And once finished, I *loved* it. I admit, LOVED it. More than anything else I’ve ever written. So I bravely finished polishing and sent it off for a round of Beta reading to make sure I just wasn’t blinded by my own brilliance it was everything I thought it might be.

Waited with trepidation.

Pretended to not care.


Waited another hour.

Went back to pretending not to care.

Turns out, no one had any huge problems with it. A few minor plot issues, some little tweaks here and there. In short, they loved it.

So, for some reason, I decided to try the traditional route. I carefully crafted about five bazillion query letters and then settled on one, made my agent query list, agonized endlessly over that document from hell — the synopsis — and started sending queries off. One by painful one.

I began in July 2014. At that point, I would send a query, wait for a response, then send another. I sent a total of three queries in 2014 because of that process. Net result: 1 form rejection, 1 partial request then rejected, 1 closed-no-response.

With 2015 I pulled out the stops and decided to query several agents at once. I first sent the queries in small batches, only sending another out when one came back. I have a lovely spreadsheet with date sent, length of time the agent’s guidelines said they would respond in, 60 days allowed if they gave no indication of response time. (Some times were adjusted based on comments found on Query Tracker, a site I highly recommend if you’re going this route.)

After a while, my patience for the process wearing increasingly thin, I decided to send out all remaining queries. As of this writing, my stats since July 2014 are:

  • A total of 40 queries sent out.
  • 1 partial request which then resulted in a rejection.
  • 11 form rejections
  • 16 closed-no-response
  • 12 queries remain open, only 2 of which are with agents who state they respond to all.

Some would be greatly disheartened by the above. However, after reading many comments on QueryTracker and Twitter, as well as looking at statistics provided by agents and the industry, I’m not. When agents receive literally hundreds to thousands of queries a day, most of which never make it past their assistants, and they sign maybe one or two new clients a year (or none at all)… well, the phrase snowball’s chance in hell comes to mind. And even though many agents now ask for the first 5-50 pages to be included with the query, many are still only going off that all-important query letter which needs to be brief, to the point, and condense all the nuances of a 96,000 word book into maybe 500 words overall.

But that’s nothing new. That’s traditional publishing, and I knew that going in. This ain’t my first rodeo. (Although I do have to say, I find the number of agents who opt to give absolutely no response a bit off-putting. How hard is it to have that form rejection queued up and ready to go?)

Anywho… where does that leave CBC you ask?

In better shape now than it was a year ago.


Say again?

Yep. And before you ask me to explain myself, allow me to explain myself.

I’ve had another year + to think about what I want for it. To put it to another round of Betas. Not that there was anything wrong with the first round. A better batch of Betas could not have been found (if you missed my post Friday I shared some of the lovely comments my Betas provided). They helped immensely and gave excellent feedback as always. That, in turn, brought about changes. And… the first round of Betas were overwhelmingly woman. That’s not a bad thing. But CBC is written from the male POV and only one male set eyes on it and he is, admittedly, not a huge reader of fantasy. How could I be sure I’d captured the male psyche? How could I know CBC would appeal to the male audience as well? So I scared up some male fantasy fans, some of whom are die-hard gamers, and now CBC is in their hands.

The delay in putting CBC out there also helped ideas claim every available piece of grey matter left unattended. That is not always a good thing. Me and ideas? Oi. And now I have them. Oooooh boy, do I have them. Whether they pan out or not, who can say. But if even half of them do, look out below! Or above! Just… look out!

Finally, because I want CBC to be the ultimate best I can put out there, I sent a sample to the awesome Kate Johnston, editor extraordinaire. She read, commented, we chatted, and in a month or so CBC will be landing in her capable hands. *gulp* That, in case you’re wondering, is its own very special kind of terror right there.

Meanwhile, cover sketches are being developed, and aforementioned ideas are working their way into full-blown plans.

But what about the outstanding queries? What if someone requests a full? Offers representation?

*shrug* I dunno.

I guess I’ll cross that bridge when and if it comes. For now? Damn the torpedoes, and full steam ahead!



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Interview With Steve McHugh ~ Author of The Hellequin Chronicles

Born-of-Hatred (3)Today I welcome back author Steve McHugh for a chat about self-publishing. Steve has recently released Born Of Hatred, book two in his series The Hellequin Chronicles (scroll to the bottom to see where you can pick them up, if you haven’t already. And if you haven’t, why not?).

There was a time when Nathan Garrett was feared. When the mention of his name was enough to stop his enemies in their tracks. That time has long since passed.
When Nathan’s friend asks for help investigating a pattern of horrific crimes, he reluctantly agrees. But his investigation leads to a serial killer who is something more, or less, than human, a creature of pure malevolence and hatred.
There are some things that even a 1600-year-old sorcerer hesitates to challenge. But when evil targets those Nathan cares about, his enemies will discover exactly who Nathan used to be. And why they will learn to fear him once more.
Born of Hatred is an action-packed, Urban Fantasy set in modern-day England with historical flashbacks to late nineteenth century Montana. It’s the second book of the Hellequin Chronicles, following the widely praised Crimes Against Magic, which introduced sorcerer Nathan Garrett.

KLS:  Welcome back to my humble Blog, Steve. Make yourself comfortable. Pay no attention to the demon spawn lurking in the corner. He’s harmless, truly.

SMcH: Thanks so much for having me here, I have some treats for your demon. I hope he likes wine gums.

KLS: That was awfully nice of you, just watch your fingers he gets a little — ow — wow, that has to hurt. Let me wrap that for you. So, congratulations on the huge success of Born of Hatred. It must feel good to rake in all those 5-star reviews. Have you ever gotten a less than stellar review? If so, how have you dealt with it?

SMcH:  Thanks for the kind words, Born of Hatred has done better than I’d ever dreamed, and better than Crimes Against Magic, which was my main aim.

I’ve had a few bad reviews, which is to be expected, you can’t please everyone, and for the most part they don’t really bother me. If someone didn’t like my book because it wasn’t for them, then fine. But there have been a few reviews when it’s felt like the author has attacked me personally for not writing something they like, or written a review where you’re not sure they actually read the book. Mostly I just vent and move on. It’s all you can do.

KLS:  Let’s dive into the business end of things. What prompted you to go the Indie route in your publishing venture?

SMcH: Money, fame and power. Actually I went with it because I wanted to have control over my own work. To be able to decide the cover, the promoting and such. I did originally try to go the traditional route, and got a few nice comments from agents, but after a while I just figured I’d do it myself.

KLS:  Do you foresee yourself ever blending in the traditional publishing route? Or do you see no reason to pursue that legendary brass ring?

SMcH: I don’t know is the honest answer. I like the idea of having control over my work. I don’t like the idea of someone else deciding on how the cover should look, or changing the title. These are things I worked on and want to keep how I see them. That’s not to say that if I ever received an offer from an Publishing House I wouldn’t consider it. I’d be mad to just say no outright, but I’m not going after the traditional publishing model.

KLS:  How much of the editing, formatting, cover work, etc. do you handle yourself?

SMcH: The editing is done by people far smarter than I. I have an editor and critique partners, alongside some fantastic beta readers. They pick the bones of my book clean so it makes sense. The cover is done by my friend Eamon O’Donoghue, who you can see more about here: He’s far, far more talented at art than I could ever be. My entire artistic skills stops just after stick men.

KLS:  But I bet they’re fantastic stick men. What has been one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced being self-published?

SMcH: Dividing your time between writing and promotion is quite hard work. I’m not very good at telling everyone how awesome I am anyway, so promotion is quite a difficult. And sticking to your own deadlines. It’s tempting to just say, I’ll put it back a week, but you kind of need to make sure that you don’t keep swapping them about a lot.

KLS:  And, conversely, what has been one of the biggest rewards?

SMcH: Having people tell me they like the book. Getting e-mails from… well, I guess they’re fans. That never ever gets old. Although, I guess that’s the same for all published authors.

KLS:  Marketing. It’s a toughie. What are some words of wisdom you can give to others? What have you done that’s worked, or not worked?

SMcH: Facebook and Twitter are very helpful, even if it’s just for people to spread the word or get in touch. Use other people’s blogs (and accept them on yours in return), and then hope your book catches on. The best piece of marketing is to write a good book, and get a good cover. A good cover will sell you books. Twitter may not.

KLS:  And finally, not because I’m impatient or anything like that, when can we expect the next book?

SMcH: I’m hoping the summer. Although that may change. I’d like to get books 3 and 4 out this year, but then I’d also like to sleep, so we’ll see how that works out.

KLS: Ah, yes, sleep. I’ve heard about that. I think it’s a myth, myself.  But I wish you all the luck, and thanks for stopping by.

SMcH: Thanks for having me.
Steve McHugh is the author of the popular Urban Fantasy series, Hellequin Chronicles. The first book of which, Crimes Against Magic, was published in April 2012 and followed by the sequel, Born of Hatred in December 2012.

To learn more about Steve and his work, you can find him at:

The Hellequin Chronicles are available at:
Amazon UK

Amazon US