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drollerie press: events

Drollerie Press, Faerie Blood

Closure of Drollerie Press

Sadness. My editor Deena Fisher has now officially announced the closure of Drollerie Press. I’ve already been working with assistant editor Selena Green on the reversion of rights for Faerie Blood, so this comes as no real surprise. But still, it is a moment of sadness.

I’ve been off of Amazon for a bit already, but I’m seeing now that I’m off of B&N’s site and off of Google’s ebooks site as well. Fictionwise and Mobipocket and Scribd and still have me, but I expect I’ll be vanishing off of them eventually. Moving forward, I will be willing to direct-sell copies of Faerie Blood to interested parties until I find it a new home. For now I’m not going to repost it anywhere myself. Once the reversion of rights is complete, I do want to re-query it to what markets are still available, most likely in conjunction with Bone Walker once I finish writing that. So until that time, if you’d like to read it and you haven’t already, please feel free to contact me directly and we’ll talk.

And if you know other Drollerie authors, especially if you’ve purchased their work, please consider giving them virtual hugs–and express to them that you did in fact buy and enjoy their work. Drollerie authors have written some wonderful things, and I hope that all of us will be able to find good places for our work in the future.

Most of all I’d like to express my appreciation for the work Deena has done, as well as Selena and JoSelle who have worked tirelessly with us authors to try to get all of our books back into our hands. As one who has suffered her share of medical difficulty, I very much feel for how Deena’s health issues have impacted her, and I am hopeful that she will have as easy a recovery as possible.

As always, thank you all for your support!

Vacation Reads

Vacation Reads–Week 4

As promised, here’s my contribution to the Vacation Reads promotion! These are this weekend’s slate of recommended titles, and again, I encourage you all to go visit the master site for leads on other things you’ll hopefully enjoy reading!


Worlds within worlds await through the Maya Bloodgate….

Dr. Jaid Merritt doesn’t do digs. The last time she ventured into the jungle, someone died. Now she’s content to decipher Maya glyphs from pictures sent to her by her famous archaeologist father. But when he goes missing while trying to perform a ritual based on her translations of an ancient codex, Jaid must put aside her fears and travel to Guatemala to find him.

After misusing the Bloodgates to bring his twin brother back from the afterlife, the Maya priest known as Ruin was cursed by the gods to stand as the guardian for all time. He was unable to stop Dr. Charles Merritt from opening the gates, and now demons roam this world. The last thing he wants to do is hurt the beautiful woman who is somehow infused with his magic, but if she uses the codex to retrieve her father, Ruin must do his duty. And this time, he won’t fail. Even if it kills him. Again.

~ * ~

I’ve always loved the idea of blood sacrifice. From vampires to the symbology of communion, I’m fascinated by the inherent power in this essence of life. Add mythology to the mix, and I’m one happy camper, so of course, the Maya have always been one of my favorites mythologies. Bonus: pyramids!

One of my inspirations for THE BLOODGATE GUARDIAN is a demotivator poster (link that shows the famous El Castillo pyramid of Chich’en Itza that says “All we ask here is that you give us your heart.” While there’s no archeological evidence that the Maya sacrificed hundreds or thousands of victims until the pyramid steps ran red with blood as in Mel Gibson’s Apocalytpo, they did practice blood sacrifice. Most of the time, they cut their ears or (men, avert your eyes and cover yourself) penis, caught blood on special paper, and then burned it with incense to honor the gods.

And yes, occasionally people were sacrificed, especially the losers of the famous ballgame or captured kings from other villages. Sometimes people were simply tossed into the cenote—large sinkholes that form over thousands of years in the limestone, often with an extensive network of caves. If they were still alive hours later…or possibly the next day…then they might be rescued to see if they bore any messages from the gods. Sadly, children were often the victims of this type of sacrifice, inspiring a short story that I’m offering for free on my website, Well of Sky, link

Most of the time, it was the willing sacrifice—of his own blood—that imbued so much power into the priest’s prayers and rituals. Ruin, the hero in THE BLOODGATE GUARDIAN, has paid that price numerous times himself. In fact, he’s died many times in service to the Bloodgates. He willingly pays the ultimate price over and over to protect that sacred magic.

When this man falls in love, he falls hard. How many times will he die to keep her alive?

BUT CAN YOU LET HIM GO? by Cindy Lynn Speer

In this collection, Cindy Lynn Speer, author of The Chocolatier’s Wife and editor of StereoOpticon, a collection of re-told fairy tales, gives us several new stories and an interesting look at the classic ‘Cinderella’ as well. Cindy’s stories examine the roles of women, our expectations, and the aftermath of the classic happily ever after in interesting, sometimes disturbing, ways.

Every Word I Speak: Most of us know the fairy tale of the girl who, because of her kindness, was given the gift of gems and flowers that fell from her mouth with every word she spoke, but what happens afterward? Who can she trust and what will they want from her? This version of the story is a dark and troubling tale, and absolutely delicious for those of us who like our fairy tales unmarred by a Disney ending.

What Will I Do When This Dream is Over?: Matilda is a unicorn, calmly cropping the grass in Emmy’s front yard. Hank is her ex-boyfriend, who can’t see her anymore because, she’s afraid, he’s angry with her for not putting out. Emmy’s been preparing for the day Matilda would show up all her life. It’s been like a dream, always there. She’s been called upon to do a job, to save the world, and now it’s time. Emmy’s off on an adventure. She hopes she’ll win, beat the bad guys, save the day, but if she does, what happens after?

The Fortunate Ones: Once upon a time, there lived a people who were always fortunate. And then they discovered that their fortune resided in their women, so they turned them into a commodity to be bought and sold. Annabelle is living the dream with her very successful husband, except he beats her sometimes, when he’s angry, when things don’t go right. She doesn’t like knowing she’s a commodity. She doesn’t like thinking like that. But she has to, and it’s up to her to save herself. If she can. If she can take her fortune back into her own hands.

But Can You Let Him Go?: The fairy godmother who provides Cinderella with her pretty clothes and shoes and the ride to the ball is paying penance for her mistakes. When she’s not passing judgement on foolish and avaricious humans, she’s hunting for Cinderella, the Cinderella in this tale, at this time, and the handsome prince who will give Cinderella her happily ever after. She needs to get it right. She needs to save them both. If she doesn’t, she’ll never see her people again. Her sister, however, is determined to see her fail, and she’ll do all in her power to make that come to pass.

Q: What are your hobbies?

A: I have way too many…I sew, garden, obsess over home improvement, read constantly…but my primary hobby is learning how to fence the way that they did in the time of Elizabeth I, through the Society for Creative Anachronism. I have a true passion for the blade…I love trying to push myself to become a better fencer.

Deadly Lucidity by Julie Achterhoff

Caught in a tangled web of dreams and nightmares, Marie Reilly is being hunted by a psychopath in the dream world she can’t escape. Her single ally, a Ranger named Murphy, may be her only hope. He must help her reach the Great Fortress, where they’ve been told there is a way back to her reality. Together, they fight their way through the twists and turns of Marie’s mind so she can have her life back. But what of their growing passion for each other? How can Marie leave the man she has come to love behind in this nightmarish world he has called home as far back as he can remember?

Q: What have you learned about being an author since you started writing professionally, Julie?

A: Gosh, I’ve learned so much! I started out reading a couple of books on how to write and taking a women’s literature class at the local community college. That was ten years ago. I started writing professionally three years ago, starting with a novella titled Native Vengeance, which was published on the Demon Minds website for their Halloween edition that year. That experience taught me that I might have what it took to write a full length novel. I started out small because I thought I’d test the waters and see if anyone thought I could write well. I was pleased to get my first acceptance letter, as well as recognition for my writing skills. Learning that someone else enjoys what you’ve written is one of the biggest thrills I’ve ever experienced!

I had some idea because I got an “A” on my class final, which was to write something. I went way overboard and wrote an entire three-act play titled Angel in the House! I wrote that in six weeks, too! So that gave me some validation about my writing. That’s when I also found out there just wasn’t enough time to write anything and homeschool my five children at the same time.

So I waited until most of them were out on their own to start writing my first novel, Quantum Earth. While writing this book, I learned all about the predictions for the year 2012 from the Mayan calendar. I also learned that I could create characters and scenes that would last through to the very end. It took me several months to write Quantum Earth. It takes up a lot of your day to day thinking to write a book. It keeps you up late at night, too.

Then I learned about writing query letters and synopsises to send out to publishers and agents. They have to really hook them from the very start. I learned that different publishers require different things from a potential author. Some want just a query at first, some want a query and a synopsis, and some want these plus some pages from your manuscript. You absolutely have to follow what they want exactly. If you don’t do this part just right, that alone will cause them to say no. I found out that some publishers are very nice, sometimes even giving you advice, but some of them aren’t very nice, and can say some rude things to you.

I had to find sources for publishers. I used Writer’s Market and Duotrope mostly. I learned to keep track of whom I sent out to so I wouldn’t duplicate myefforts. Then I learned the pretty painful feeling of being rejected over and over again. That was very hard for me because I don’t take rejection well! Those were a tough few months of sending out my work very carefully, and getting nothing back but negative replies.

I had already learned that there were people who liked my writing, so I tried not to give up hope. I tried to see every no as one step closer to that magical word, “yes.” Finally, after sending out at least fifty queries, synopsises, and/or pages, I got a very big yes from an e-book publisher. She said Quantum Earth was exactly what she was interested in and loved it from start to finish. But one thing I had learned was that e-books were just sent by email. They are not really a solid book you can hold in your hand. This put me
off a bit, so I contacted one of the publishers who said they wanted more about Quantum Earth and asked them if they were interested in publishing it. They said yes, too! Now I had a decision to make, and not much information about the pros and cons. But I knew I wanted to see my book in print as a real book, so I ended up having to be the one to say no to the first publisher. That was a twist. She was very disappointed, but understood.

So it happened that All Things That Matter Press was the one to publish my first real book. A year later they published my second book, Deadly Lucidity. For this book I learned all about lucid dreaming, among other things. During the time I’ve been with ATTM Press I’ve learned so much from Deb and Phil Harris. They run this small press, and I couldn’t be happier with them. Deb has taught me everything I could possibly want to know about editing, and Phil has taught me all about promoting books and creating a name for yourself. They are experts at what they do. An author has to learn how to sell their own books by doing interviews, blogging, publicity, creating an author platform, and many other ways to get people to buy their books. It’s not an easy process. I work on this almost every day.

I’ve also learned so much from other authors, especially the ones that are also published at ATTM Press. We have a yahoo group where we keep in close touch, sharing ideas and supporting one another. Another source for my education is my friends on facebook who are also writers. I have learned a lot from these and other sources, and continue to learn what it takes to be a writer. Now I’m at the point where I am starting to do some teaching, myself. I recently got an offer to teach at a writer’s retreat next January in Georgia. I’m very excited about that, and hope that I can help others on the path to writing.

As of this writing I am finishing up my next book, Earthwalker, which will be available by Christmas.

Link to video trailer for Deadly Lucidity:

Link to Blog:

Link to buy Deadly Lucidity: or

Link to BookBuzzr preview of Deadly Lucidity:

Drollerie Press

Vacation Reads!

So I’ve been remiss in posting about this, given that things have been pretty wacky at work this month and that’s been eating my brain–but my fellow Drollerie Press author Anna Kashina has been spearheading an awesome promotion this entire month. It’s Vacation Reads, helping people spread the word not only about their own work, but about other works that are just generally fun to read.

Several of my other fellow Drollerie authors as well as fine folks from the Outer Alliance and the Vacation Reads Facebook group are participating, so check the Vacation Reads master site for more data. And watch this space for my own forthcoming post to participate in this weekend’s round of recommendations! Mad props to the other Anna K. for putting all this together!

Bone Walker, Drollerie Press

Bone Walker, Coyotecon, and Maynowrimo continue!

This past weekend I sat in as sort of unofficial moderator at two different Coyotecon panels, “Writing Mental Illness” and “Young Adult Speculative Fiction”. That was fun all around, and gave me a chance to interact with a few folks I hadn’t before. Those transcripts aren’t up yet, but if you go over here, you can see the transcript of the first panel I participated in, the Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Fiction panel. And all of the available transcript panels can be found here.

Meanwhile, Joely Sue Burkhart’s sister event of Maynowrimo proceeds apace. My goal for it is to hit 200 words a day on Bone Walker, minimum. I’ve skipped a day or two, but the math works out nicely still to have me on track! As of tonight’s writing, which was 504 words, I’m just over the 29K mark and 30K should be breached this week.

Things discovered in the process of writing Chapter 10: Christopher’s middle name is Michael, Jude’s middle name is Alicia, and Warders can find anybody who lives in their city. And I do mean anybody, if they look hard enough. Especially magically. Good to know!

Gosh, May’s feeling nice and productive so far. I’m doing pretty well hitting my old daily goal of about 500 words a day! Let’s see if I can keep that up.

Bone Walker, Drollerie Press, Mirror's Gate, Vengeance of the Hunter

More CoyoteCon and status update-y type things

Today’s Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Fiction panel went swimmingly if I do say so myself, and as soon as I have a link to the transcript, I shall post it here! There was quite the turnout, not only of Drollerie authors but of one non-Drollerie author as well, Lucy Snyder, whose urban fantasy Spellbent I think I’ll have to be reading now.

Meanwhile, tonight’s Maynowrimo performance was not quite as awesome as yesterday’s. But I did throw words nonetheless at three total books!

Bone Walker: 238 words into Chapter 10, just enough to push me up over the 27K mark for the book. 30K is possibly doable by the end of the week.

Shadow of the Rook: 277 words into Chapter 3. A Faanshi chapter, the first in this story so far. And now I’m all “oh RIGHT Faanshi and Julian and Kestar! I really like these characters! And their story isn’t done yet either!” Shadow is hovering around 14K at the moment.

Mirror’s Gate: Only 79 words here, on Chapter 2. Mostly I was too distracted by the other two books, even though I’d also opened this file. Book’s now around 4K.

All told that’s 594 words, which is still above my old quota of 500 a day, so it’s all good!

P.S. I picked up a couple new followers on Twitter today, so if you folks clicked through to see this post, hi there! Hope you’ll hang around for more.

Bone Walker, Drollerie Press, Mirror's Gate, Shards of Recollection, Vengeance of the Hunter

CoyoteCon reminder, and status update

Do y’all know how weird it is to be able to actually say “I’m on a PANEL”? ‘Cause, y’know, it is!

I’m sure it’d be weirder if it were a big-time physical face to face type convention, but you know what? A virtual convention is still pretty damned awesome. And tomorrow–okay, today, since it’s after midnight now and that does technically make it today–I will be participating in the awesome! I’m in on the Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Fiction panel at 3pm Pacific, 6pm Eastern, along with several of my fellow Drollerie authors and Spellbent author Lucy Snyder! Come by and say hi and listen in. Details on how can be found over at CoyoteCon’s site.

Meanwhile, I’ve been having great fun participating in the CoyoteCon word wars. Like those run by , they’ve been doing wonders at making me get used to throwing words out onto the page on a regular basis again. Today I was feeling particularly ambitious, and managed to add words to not one, not two, not three, but FOUR of the works in progress! Go me!

Bone Walker now stands at nine complete chapters, and those of you who are fond of Elessir may find yourselves going WHA WHA WHA? at the reveal about him I drop at the end of Chapter 9. Muaha. No, I won’t be posting it.

Mirror’s Gate started Chapter 2 as Yevanya reacts–badly–to seeing someone she thinks is her dead husband Aleksandr, and over in Shadow of the Rook‘s shiny new Chapter 3, Faanshi reacts to realizing OH HEY she did something severely, hugely game-changing, about which I will not be elaborating because it’s spoiler-rific for the end of Lament of the Dove. Trust me on that ‘un.

And, I threw another hundred words or so into Shards of Recollection, which is still sitting in Chapter 1, but every little bit of progress counts!

All in all? This has been a good day.

Drollerie Press

My post for Maynowrimo, on motivation

Those of you who’ve seen the Drollerie Blog Tour posts I’ve done may recall my fellow Drollerie author, Joely Sue Burkhart, with whom I appear in the anthology Defiance. She’s also the author of Beautiful Death and several other works from Drollerie, and she has a new work coming out from Carina Press this year. That’s a lot of undiluted awesome for one author to be packing–but Joely took it up another notch by hosting Maynowrimo this year, her answer to Nanowrimo, in which participants can set their own goals for writing projects. She’s doing this in conjunction with Drollerie’s event CoyoteCon, and there’s already quite a bit of lovely community action going on on its mailing list!

One of the things she’s doing for Maynowrimo is highlighting writing-themed blog topics all throughout the month of May. And this post is my contribution to those. Joely gave me free rein to write about whatever I’d like, so long as it was writing-related. That’s a whole lot of territory, though. So I’m going to narrow it in and talk about one thing in particular: motivation.

Which is to say, how you keep writing even when you have a rejection list as long as your arm, and you’re certain you will never, ever sell a word as long as you live.

I realize that it’s easy for me to spout off about this–after all, I’ve sold something. But here’s the thing. Even if you do make that first sale, this doesn’t get you off the hook for maintaining that motivation. If you’re an e-pubbed author like me, you may well be secretly wondering if you’ll ever have anything in print. If you’re actually in print, if your books can be spotted on the shelves of brick and mortar stores, you have to kick it up another order of magnitude–because now you have to worry about how well your books will sell, and whether your publisher thinks they’re justified in buying your next two or three books. Writing and selling one novel is tough enough. Writing and selling enough novels to maintain a regular income? Even tougher.

So how do you keep yourself going, no matter what stage of the process you’re at? For me, a lot of it is what I hope’s a healthy mix of realism, optimism, and sheer love of putting words together.

I need the realism just to remind myself that you can write the tightest, most cohesive novel ever, and chances are still pretty high that you won’t get published. You still have to do the work to find a publisher who’ll take it, or an agent who’ll do that work for you. This means you need to find someone who will not only see a potential sale in your work, but who will also be passionate enough about it that they’ll want to convince other people to buy it, too. And since a great deal of that passion is fundamentally subjective–no two people are going to have the exact same reaction to the exact same novel–it’s a lot like trying to start a romantic relationship. It’s probably not going to work unless you and your agent/editor have the basic click.

And although it’s a tough thing to do, I try to give myself permission to fail. Sometimes this means permission to not get any writing done if the emotional, mental, or physical stresses of day to day life are sapping my creative energy–like they often do. Sometimes this means the bigger permission of not actually ever getting a book into a physical bookstore. Realism says that sometimes I simply won’t be able to write, and that I may not ever have a mass market paperback with my name on it, or be nominated for a Hugo. And you know what? That’s okay.

This is where optimism comes in. Optimism says, “Okay, these hundred or so books over here that you plowed through last year because they were just that awesome? You can write one easily as good as any of those. Go for it!” Optimism says that the important part of this whole process is trying. My chances of accomplishing the publishing goals I have aren’t big–but optimism makes me remember that they’re also not zero, as long as I write the best novel I can and do the necessary work to get it into the hands of the people who need to see it.

Last but not least, there’s the love of writing in general. I am a voracious reader, and I read so much just because I love stories and I love books. I read what I find fun–and I therefore want to write the sorts of things I’d find fun to read. It helps, too, that I come out of a long history of online role-play, so I’m very used to characters in my head demanding to have their stories told and not shutting up until I do something about them. The simple act of creating those stories is just that fun for me. The possibility of getting them into other people’s hands, people who might in fact give me money for them, is just icing on top of an already pretty delicious cake.

As with anything pertaining to writing, your mileage will of course vary. Writers, solitary creatures that we are, come in countless variations; what works for one of us is by no means guaranteed to work for anyone else in our number. But I would definitely encourage all of my fellow writers to try to work both realistically and optimistically, and most importantly to write stories you find fun. That’ll go a long, long way to keeping you going even when you’re not sure if anybody else on the planet will read a word you wrote.

Don’t discount the value either of commiserating with your fellow writers. We may all be naturally solitary by virtue of our chosen craft, but I guarantee you that we’ve all suffered the same pangs of doubt. There’s great virtue in venting your frustrations to sympathetic ears–though be sure to let them vent back! So this is my invitation to anyone reading this post: vent! Let me hear your frustrations in keeping your work going. And if you have tips to share on how to keep your spirits up and the words coming, share them with your fellow writers!

Thanks much to anyone who’s read this, and thanks again to Joely for Maynowrimo and giving me a chance to sound off!