Posts tagged “Coinblade Chronicles

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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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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Best of the Betas

A manuscript goes through many, many stages before being released to the big, wide world in all its (hopefully) polished perfection. One of the most important steps along the way is the Beta Read. Most would be books see one or more rounds of Beta reads before final editing. The invaluable task of Beta reading is done by a volunteer force of — you guessed it — Beta Readers. Every one of them is a precious gem to be coddled, applauded, and honored at every opportunity. (Also, on occasion, paid back by becoming their Beta Reader. Mwahahahahahaha!)


In all seriousness, I love my Beta Readers. Truly. I adore them, value them, and appreciate them to the ends of the earth and back. For the most part they are just as I like them; brutally honest shredders of the written word, not afraid to tell it like it is. No sugar coating. No pulling punches. What I really appreciate about the majority of my Betas is their exquisite sense of humor. You have to have that if you’re going to work with me.


Since Bound in Shadow ~ The Coinblade Chronicles (otherwise known as Driev’s tale) is firmly back in the center of my plate, I took some time to read through my first round of Beta comments. I laughed, cried, swore, grinned like an idiot, scowled, argued my decisions as though my Beta’s were in the room, then decided I couldn’t possibly keep all the fun for myself. So, for the sheer entertainment of it, as well as a look at the life of a writer, I decided to share some comments.

I received this one from one of my most priceless BRs: “There are about eight million semi-colon/comma errors, but I marked ’em all for you, just ’cause I like you. It has nothing to do with me being OCD about ’em.”

Obviously he’s not OCD, and not the least bit over-dramatic either. Eight million? Really? Who can even count that high? But, just to drive his point home there were these in-line comments: JL1

Until finally!


Followed in short order by:


Yes, yes I can. And guess what? I DO IT ON PURPOSE! *sobs* He’s so mean. And yet…


Hurray for me! 😀

Outside of nit-picking the daylights out of my creative use of punctuation (aren’t the rules more like guidelines anyhow?), my Betas also alert me to typos, misused words, repetition, things that make no sense, and the obvious faux pas which I’ve obviously missed the first ten times around.


“A murmur of descent” — should this be “dissent”?
Maybe. But it’s spelled correctly, so points for that, right?

“pinching something from Runoff’s bizarre” should be “Runoff’s bazaar” unless it’s just a really weird place. 🙂
Hey, it very well could be a weird place. Don’t judge.

 “thru” throws me off (“Do you think you can follow thru now?”). I think it should be “through” unless there’s a specific reason for the drive-thru spelling.  
Drive-thru spelling. *snork* No, that’s shorthand typing when the brain is moving too fast for the fingers.

I’m sorry… the twelve year old boy in me giggles every time I read the word “taint” He needs to quit it. Not your fault. Mine. 
*face palm*

 On the street with Dolph: Did Driev tap his blade against his teeth when there’s dirt and blood on it? Ick.
Yeah. I know. But he later washes it down with alcohol so it’s all good, yes?

“She hurtled her fallen comrade” should be “hurdled” if I’m reading it correctly (hurtle = move quickly, hurdle = jump over) 
Ta-mato, ta-mahto. “She hurtley hurdled.” There. Solved that problem.

-“flat, only slightly angled roof” It can’t be both flat and angled unless by “flat” you mean “untiled” or “smooth.” 
Smooth! I meant smoooooove. Yeah. That’s it. Uh-huh. That’s what I meant alright.

-“I’ll hold you personably responsible.”
Just about everyone decided to pounce on that one. Geez. Make one little typo…

 -“I traced a random pattern…” Patterns can’t be random
Are you sure about that? I mean, it’s random but it forms a sort of pattern. Randomly. In a patternly kind of way.

“A monstrosity of wood and iron, the original architect…”  That’s a pretty unusual architect.
And he made some pretty unusual things to. Mostly out of paper mache and duct tape. Occasionally popsicle sticks. *looks around innocently* What?

“there were getting to be more players in this game than I could keep track of.” Yeah, me too at times … *g* 
Things may have been a bit unclear in the preceding passage. In my head it all made perfect sense.

-“All of them, including the few women I saw as I followed my new friends across the vast foyer, were clean-shaven” Um, clean-shaven women? Maybe reformulate?
Um, well, maybe they were dwarves. I believe Gimli described dwarven females as ‘hairy little women’. So. Yeah. Maybe they were dwarves.
Clean-shaven, dwarven women.


Thank you, Superheroes!


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WIPpet Wednesday


That’s the noise I make when I can’t come up with a catchy Blog title. Or, alternately, when I seem to be running in place. Or worse, running uphill on a treadmill intent on tripping me up and making me slide back down to the bottom. Which is pretty much how I feel lately in regards to my To Do List, Want To Do List, Should Do Some Time In The Not Too Distant Future List, and Why Is This Even On A List List. Being gone or very occupied the last several weekends didn’t help. Not that I would have traded the good times and great memories with folks I don’t see nearly enough. But, it’s definitely a juggling act. And I’m not a good juggler. Okay, I am–figuratively speaking. Literally, I can’t juggle two things. But I’ve been dropping things lately, which tells me there are too many things and I need to prune the tree.

How’s that for a nice bunch of mixed metaphors? And whining. And…done with both.

Onto the highlight of the day. It is, after all Wednesday. That means only one thing: WIPpets. For the 30th of April, 30 sentences from CBC: Bound in Shadows. This is the beginning of one of the flashback scenes scattered throughout. An exchange between Driev and his closest (only) friend, Andel.

“I’m leaving.”

I glanced up at Andel from where I lay, draped between the half-naked forms of Patsy and Myrtle–or was it Milly? Misty? I gave the winsome brunette a frowning glance, then turned the look Andel’s way.

“You can’t be done already,” I chided, my words only slightly slurred to my own ears.

We’d had dinner before coming to Highland House, one of the better such establishments in Cooper’s Hill. Andel had been in a mood for days, having had some spat with the woman of his dreams. I figured a meaningless tumble would cheer him up. I should have known better.

He made a point of not looking at the girls. He glanced at me, his mouth a tight line, eyes shadowed. “You can stay. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

He pushed off the door frame and made to suit actions to words.

“Andel, wait.” I disentangled myself from the hands and lips that hadn’t even paused in their attentions, and scrambled to my feet, stumbling after Andel. I caught him by the arm before he reached the exit. “You’re seriously going to turn your back on that?”

I gestured to our right where a curvy, red-haired girl watched, a feigned pout on her full lips. Or maybe not so feigned. Women were drawn to Andel. Not that they weren’t drawn to me as well. But in Andel they saw something grand. In me they saw a chance to dance with the devils.

“I love Clarisse,” he said.

“And April before her, and Trinna before that, and way back before you even knew what to do with it there was Willa–“

“This is different. I want to marry Clarisse.” He dragged a hand through his hair, looking more distraught than I’d seen him in a long time. “I’ve made a mess of things, so now I’m going to go home and fix it. I just hope she’ll take me back.”

 I’ve added some new pins to the CBC Pinterest board. Since I’m in the mood to share, here’s another one of the songs that puts me in mind of Driev, poor, sweet boy.

“I tried so hard,
And got so far
But in the end
It doesn’t even matter.
I had to fall
To lose it all
But in the end
It doesn’t even matter.”




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White Rabbits and Running to Keep Up

O’m’gosh! Wednesday (as I write this) is tomorrow and I need a WIPpet. Yikes. I am sooooo unprepared. Before I go on to scrambling for something, I need to give a big shout-out to everyone who showed me cover love (and please, don’t let me forget anyone!) If you have a chance to stop by any of these blogs, I suggest you do so. Not just because my cover is there, silly, but because these are a group of the most supportive, friendliest, writerly types I know.

The Raven’s Quill  ~  Keri Lake   ~   J. Keller Ford   ~   Disregard the Prologue   ~   Leila Gaskin   ~   Sage of the South   ~   Madwoman With a Writing Box   ~   Elaine Jeremiah   ~   Sarah Hart   ~   Fallon Brown Writes   ~   El Space

What a list! I’m still on target for a St. Patrick’s Day release. I’ve got a few interviews planned for between then and the second week of April, so no telling where I’ll turn up. Some of my characters are getting into the act as well. Mwahahahaha…

Ah, so, WIPpet time. To be honest, I’ve not spent much time with Driev the last couple of weeks. I’m floundering at the mid-point. So I printed out a hard copy and am reading it over just to get a feel for where the story needs to go. For some reason, having that hard copy in my hands is so much different than reading the words on a screen. Regardless of that fact, I think I can find something to offer.

I was going to be mean and give you only thirteen words. You know, 12 for the date plus a bonus word because I’m feeling all giddy this week. It happens to be one of my favorite Driev lines so I decided to share it with you in addition to my WIPpet.

“I’m afraid if I set my vices aside, Father, I’d have nothing left.”

That really is him, isn’t it? And, since we brought the good Father Jesup into this, I’ll give you twelve short paragraphs that follow a day after the encounter above. I don’t believe I’ve given you this bit before. Driev left Gylan (a.k.a. ‘the boy’) with Father Jesup at the temple where he occasionally rooms. And , well, it didn’t work out as well as he trusted it would…

Someone once told me I lack subtlety. It may have been Dell. In any case, I disagree. It’s only in certain situations that I tend to lose restraint. Father Jesup allowing the boy to be taken to Trinity Market in the company of several lay-priests happened to be one of those situations.

“You said to keep an eye on him,” Father Jesup said. He took two hasty steps back, his eyes flicking to where my sword’s grip rose above my right shoulder. “I assure you, he is in good hands.”

“And I assure you, if he ends up in the wrong hands, you’ll get to kiss your blessed Ornthenal’s feet before the day is out.”

“Are you threatening me?” The father’s voice rose an octave; indignation and fear mingled in equal measure.


“How dare you.” Indignation won out.

“Trust me, Father, I dare plenty. How long ago did they leave?”

When he failed to answer me quickly enough I snagged a handful of his frock and, lifting him to his toes, forced him back five paces into the wall and held him there. He sputtered the whole way, face reddening, fingers clawing at my wrist.

“I will pray fo–“

His head bounced against the wall with a loud thud.

“How long?”

“Hours.” The word came out as more of a screech than anything. “They should be returning shortly.”

Yep, as subtle as a brick, that’s what he is. I’m pleased to say I did finally make it around to everyone’s WIPpet last week. Although it took until Monday. 18 WIPpets!! Did you all see that?!!? How awesome. 🙂

Now I have to run. Much to do. I’m like the White Rabbit again…


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