Monthly Archives: May 2014

Taste of Fantasy: KL Schwengel’s “First of Her Kind” on Wattpad

The WIPpeteer mistress is feeling generous.

KL Schwengel has decided to post a chapter a week from First of Her Kind on Wattpad. If you’ve been meaning to check out the Darkness and Light series but haven’t had a chance yet, now would be a great time to do it.

You know, what with Wattpad being free and all.

Just don’t blame me if a a chapter a week isn’t enough, and you decide to just buy the book instead of waiting. 

Click here


Crazy for Coconut

(SHORT POST! I have so much reading to do this weekend. Not that I’m complaining, mind you.)

Just so you all don’t think I was lying about trying stuff from that Coconut oil list

Several people suggested that I should try making a coconut oil and sugar body scrub.

And I did.



I didn’t get all fancy with essential oils to make it stink real purdy. Just white sugar and coconut oil. Mix. Take to shower. Scrub. Rinse.

It’s all pretty simple, really. And my skin felt soft and slippery after. Also made my bathtub slippery, so you’ll want to watch that.

Works well on lips as a pre-bedtime lip scrub, too. Takes make-up off along with dead skin. And of course, tastes LIKE SUGAR AND COCONUT OIL. So there’s that.

As for the cost… I don’t know what prices are like where you all live, but around here, sugar is cheaper than dirt, but coconut oil is pretty darned pricey. I cringe a little every time I use it for anything other than eating. Still, you don’t need a lot of it for this, and it is a nice treat.

Okay. That’s one more done. What’s next?

Best Thing I’ve Read Today… So Far

I think chuck Wendig nailed it (again) in his post 25 Things I Want to Say to So-Called “Aspiring” Writers.

If you write, you’re a writer. If you don’t, you’re not. If you want to write but aren’t doing it, maybe then you can call yourself an aspiring writer. But if you’re doing the work, OWN it. If you’re dragging your ass out of bed early, fitting in a few sentences while the kids are sleeping, or maybe banging out five words at a time at stoplights*, you ARE a writer. Even if you’re unpublished. Even if nobody wants to read it. Even if those pages are going straight into a box under your bed, or into a bonfire.**

As always with Mr Wendig, language warning.  But there’s nots of great advice here regarding things other than what we call ourselves. Worth a read.

I also liked this:

“Self-publishing is a viable path. It is not, however, the easy path. Get shut of this notion. You don’t just do a little ballerina twirl and a book falls out of your vagina. (And if that does happen, please see a doctor. Especially if you’re a dude.) It takes a lot of effort to bring a proper self-published book to life. Divest yourself of the idea that it’s the cheaper, easier, also-ran path. Faster, yes. But that’s all.”

True words.



*Seriously, though, don’t do this.

**I also don’t like the term “baby writer” or anything else that sounds condescending to people who are newer at this. I think “novice writer” works. But that’s another topic.

ROW80 Update: Getting There Edition

This morning I told someone my brain was like a flock of birds, and that is the absolute truth. Sort of a murmuration at times, little starling thoughts all flying together in formation, working together and mostly heading in the same direction. Other times it’s just chaos, a thousand different species all pecking at each other and going off in different directions.

I suppose this is to be expected a month before one’s first book release.

Business. Promotion. Publishing. Formatting. Waiting on reader responses. Organizing.

Exhiliration. Self-doubt. Questions. Distractions. Perfectionism.

For the record, I’m not complaining. I chose this path, and though I think it’s perfectly valid to complain about the things we’ve chosen (hello, parenting!), I’m really not. As crazy and sometimes overwhelming as this all is, I wouldn’t have it any other way. For the first time, I’m attempting something big. Something that’s so challenging that I might fall flat on my face. Or maybe I’ll soar like this:

…or more likely, I’ll survive the business bits, get this book out, and move on to the next one. Because though I’ve put myself in the role of publisher, that’s just a thing that I’m doing. It’s not what I am. I’m a writer. I’m going to write.

ROW80 Update

I guess it’s time to look back at my goals from the start of this round to see what’s done and what’s not.

  • Edit Bound  DONE
  • Write back-cover copy  STILL WORKING ON IT. This is is harder than writing the book, I swear.
  • set up Facebook author page, change personal account name for consistency DONE and NOT DONE. If you’d like to give my page a like, it’s here.
  • hire proof-reader  FRIENDS/READERS WORKING ON IT (God love them)
  • find reviewers who might be interested in YA Fantasy (again, if you know anyone, or are someone and want an ARC, see below)  HAVE PEOPLE SIGNED UP FOR ARCS. STILL A FEW SPOTS AVAILABLE FOR E-BOOK ONLY.
  • put together front-matter and back-matter for the book, metadata, keywords, etc  WORKING ON IT. Dedication, acknowledgements, legal notice, etc. done. Need to research keywords, etc.
  • send out newsletter  DONE, and revealed a piece of the cover. Next one goes out in June, with release date, cover, sale information, etc.
  • Formatting (kill me now) HIRED SOMEONE. I have enough going on without this, and the guy I got does gorgeous work.
  • cover reveal here and on other blogs  SCHEDULED FOR JUNE 2
  • apply for ISBNs DONE. Easy peasy. I’m an official publisher!
  • submit to CreateSpace, order proof copy, correct all the things Waiting on proofreads and formatting
  • Prepare for awesome-yet-smallish Facebook release party TBA (looking at June 26)
  • Add to Goodreads, set up give-away Not yet– need finished blurb first. Will add on cover reveal day.
  • revisions on book 2 (we’ll call this a stretch goal) HAHAHAHA! Just starting today


Wow. So really, we’re looking good as far as goals go.  Coming up: revising book 2 for JuNoWriMo, which I hope will take my mind off of everything else. The story is there, but I need to add to it. There’s a love story that needs more attention, and I think the rest could do with some punching up.

So there we go.

I’m getting excited.


Cover Reveal: EVENTIDE

You all know I loved the first book. Can’t wait to get my hands on the next one…


Do You Believe in Magic?

Fantastic (ha!) thoughts on not leaving magic behind when we grow up. I know I prefer a book with a little magic in it, and I’ll take a true adventure story over a book about real life any day. 🙂

(and I second the recommendation for KL Schwengel’s books. They’re fantastic. Dark, rich Fantasy stuff, not for the faint of heart, but worth a read. Full disclosure, she’s one of my valued critiquers. She kicked my ass, and I thanked her for it. OK, I’m done.)

El Space--The Blog of L. Marie

I wasn’t going to post today, but the thoughts were fresh in my mind, thanks to a conversation with a friend, and couldn’t be ignored. I’m in a rather soapboxy mood, so feel free to tune in or tune out.

Remember in the movie version of The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion discovered the “wizard” hiding behind the curtain? This “wizard” tried to play it off by his warning to them to “pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.”


Too late. He’d already been exposed as a complete sham—a humbug, according to the Scarecrow. He didn’t have a drop of magic within him, and couldn’t really give them what they desired—a brain for the Scarecrow, a heart for the Tin Man, courage for the Cowardly Lion, and a trip home for Dorothy—except through nonmagical means. But there was magic…

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Setting the Date: Last Call! (ROW80 Update)

Voice in my head: Gooooing to the chap-PULL and we’re… GONNA get…

Me: Not that kind of date-setting.

Nope, just the cover reveal for Bound.

We’re going to do the full cover and blurb* reveal Monday, June 2, 2014, God willing and fates co-operating. We’ll also have the release date by then. And the option of adding it to your Goodreads TBR shelf.

VIMH: Oh, that old book thing? People are going to get sick of hearing about that. You never shut up about it.

Me: I know, I don’t want to pester people. I just have a little… issue. Thing.

VIMH: Just the one issue? Really?

Me: Ugh. YES. You see, my master list of Awesome Helping Type Peoples disappeared in the Great Basement Floodening, when I had to evacuate my office. I’ve been looking through e-mails people sent me and comments on blog posts, but I know I’m missing a few people, and I don’t have an e-mail address for others**. If you want to help a gal out, please please pretty please comment or send me an e-mail (kate.sparkes (at) If I haven’t heard from you yet but you’d like to join in on June 2, let me know. The more the merrier!  I’ll link back to your blog from here and also the facebook place.

For anyone who missed it, we had a wee cover preview on my Facebook author page. You know you want to look. Go on… I’ll wait.

Oh, and I have a few spots left for free ARCs (advance review copies) if anyone’s willing to read and leave an honest review on Goodreads, Amazon, wherever. And of course, if anyone wants to host ANYTHING around release day or any time after, I’m open. Interviews, character interviews, guest posts. I’m not doing a blog tour, not doing big promotion when I only have one book out, so anything that helps get the word out will earn my VERY MUCH OF GRATITUDE.

So that’s it. No more pestering, no more OMG IT’S ALMOST TIME, no more freak-outs until June 2. I promise. You’re welcome.


Finished read-through on Bound.

Sat here to do part of it. *sigh*

Sat here to do part of it. *sigh*

Not quite the same as reading with fresh eyes, but that was the closest I’ve ever come to reading it just for fun. And it was SO FUN. Hooray! Now it’s off to a few people (kind, brave souls) who are going to slap me silly over typos and such, and then the rest of the advance copies go out.

No big deal. I can do this.

Formatting is coming along… eh. I’m going to have to hire someone for the paperback formatting, but I think with Scrivener’s help I can do the e-books. Whether those play nice with distributors is another issue. If anyone has advice on this, feel free to share with the class!

*”blurb” still sounds wrong to me. Blurb is what other authors write to put on your cover or inside of the book. I prefer “back cover copy,” but whatever. People say blurb. Cool people. PEER PRESSURE.

**If you haven’t heard from me via Facebook or e-mail in the past few days, I don’t have your info.


25 Ways to Help Self-Published Authors

Most of these cost nothing, but they’re so helpful. If you love a book, show it! Yes, even if the review is only four stars. 😉

Some News, A Sample, A Dance Party. Just a Regular Day…

Hey, folks! I don’t have much time to post– there’s this dog here waiting for a walk, and he’s giving me this face AGAIN:



…so I’ll keep this brief.

The sample is here– I’ve updated and posted Chapter One of Bound here on the blog. Some of you saw it in earlier stages, but things have changed a liiiiiitle bit. (Fun fact: this chapter used to be the prologue I was going to cut. I don’t think Aren would have been pleased!)

The news is that I’m done with edits. I’m going to leave it a few days, read through again to catch whatever remaining hiccups I can, and then a few brave volunteers will get their ARCs on Monday. Everyone else, I’ll be in touch.

I’ll be sending out a newsletter soon with cover reveal date/release date news, so if you haven’t signed up yet and want to be the first to know, mosey on over here to sign up.

If you still want to volunteer to read and review in exchange for a free e-book copy, or if you’d be kind enough to help out with the cover reveal/release on your own blog, I’d love to have you on board! Leave a comment or contact me at kate.sparkes (at)

One more bit of news: It’s still pretty sparse, but my author page is up! Like there for book stuff, random fun, and oh, that’s where the release party thing is going down. Right here.


So then I did like this:

You’re welcome. 🙂

WIPpet Wednesday: The Triumphant and Climactic Return

So, SOMEONE said I needed to get my ass back to WIPpet Wednesdays. And because this SOMEONE commands a fleet of flying monkeys, here I am.

But the thing is, edits are still going really well, so I don’t have time for anything complicated. I was having climax issues (heh), but I think I’ve got it sorted. Things have changed, melodrama has shifted to a lower-burning but still toasty conflict (I hope) that explodes into a lengthier scene than I’d had before.

I still don’t feel entirely comfortable adding words, but hey, I have permission. Yeah, the story’s long, but this is one advantage of independent publishing. I can give readers the whole story without worrying about being rejected because I went over 100,000 words to tell it properly, and I don’t have to charge $12.99 for an e-book to let people enjoy it. VALUE, PEOPLE!*

Oh, and if you offered to read an ARC and would like one a tiny bit early so you can notify me of typos/ minor flubs I may have added in the editing process , let me know. I have this idea where ARC readers who notice mistakes get entered for a chance to win a cameo appearance in the last book of the trilogy. 🙂

Here’s 14+14+5=33 words from the climactic scene itself. No context, because I don’t want to give anything away.


Aren wiped the blood from his chin. “I’m not going to stop fighting until you let her go.”
“I thought so.” Severn  tilted his head to one side. “You know you can’t win.”
“I’ll try.”

Hmm… I feel like that won’t quite satisfy our host KL Schwengel’s thirst for blood.

Oh, well. *evil grin*

For anyone who’s new to the blog (hi there!), WIPpet Wendnesday is the day when a bunch of us post a snippet from a work in progress that somehow relates to the day’s date. In my case, the math was simple (14th day, 5th month, [20]14), but it can get crazy. Page number, holiday references, algebra… you name it, we’ve done it. Feel free to join in by posting on your own blog, then link back here, and be sure to stop by and say hello to everyone else! We’re a friendly bunch, I promise.

Quickie ROW80 Update

It’s good. Seriously. I’ve gotta go. Still might be done edits by then end of this week. Then another read-through, minor tweaking (not twerking), and then formatting HOLY CARP.

Signing off… back to work.


*The paperback might cost you, though 😉

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