Monthly Archives: December 2015

WIPpet Wednesday: Working Out the Kinks

Time for WIPpet Wednesday again! Our numbers may be small right now, but it’s always fun to see what the other WIPpeteers are up to. Romance, action, magic, mystery… writers do lead exciting lives. 🙂

So we need a short snippet from a work in progress relating to today’s date. Hmm.

WIPpet math: 12/30/2015 = 12 paragraphs from chapter 17 (30+2+0-15). Rowan’s POV again, slightly edited to avoid spoilers. All you need to know is that they’re in a barn, it’s very dark, and they’re not alone.

“You all right?” Aren asked, and sat beside me.

“Just sore from trying not to fall off a flying horse.”

“Anything I can do?”

I spread my blankets out and lay on my back. “My legs are really stiff.”

Aren moved through the darkness, and a moment later his hands were on my thighs, pressing hard. I gasped. “Ouch.”

“You want me to go easier on you?” The slight challenge in his voice made me shiver.

“No. It’s fine.”

He worked in silence, pressing and kneading. I gritted my teeth through the sore spots, and my muscles relaxed even as my heartbeat insisted on doing the opposite. He bent my knee and pressed it to my chest, stretching out the stiffness in my backside, first on one side and then the other.


I nodded, then remembered he couldn’t see that in the dark. “Yes. Thank you. Anything I can do for you?”

He chuckled, and the sound made my heart jump. He lay down beside me and ran a hand over the outside of my jacket, then opened the buttons and slipped his fingers inside. I bit back a gasp.

“Nothing I’d want anyone else to wake up in the middle of.”

For more WIPpet Wednesday fun and to catch up with the other WIPpeteers, visit this link. And feel free to join in! Just post your own snippet on your blog, make the math work for you however you can, and link back.

Thanks for Emily Witt for hosting!




WIPpet Wednesday: Back Again

I know, it’s been forever! But I thought I’d do a few more WIPpets from Sworn while it’s still a work in progress. After that, I’ll have something new to blab on about (and hopefully I’ll be around more).

Anyone who’s new around here (hi, there!) may be wondering what the heck a WIPpet Wednesday is. It’s the day when several authors each post a snippet from a work in progress that relates in some way to the day’s date.  It’s an open thing, so feel free to visit the other WIPpeteers at their posts via this link, leave some comments, and join in from your own blog! It sounds like things have been slow lately, but maybe we can pick it up again.

I’ll try to avoid spoilers here, but really, if you don’t want to know ANYTHING about Sworn–like, if you want it to be entirely possible that everyone dies in the first scene and the third book of the trilogy is about totally different characters–you shouldn’t read on. But I’ll keep the snippets short and as interesting as I can.

Since today is 12/23, let’s take 12 sentences from chapter 5 (2+3=5). From Rowan’s POV.

A rooster crowed, ordering the sun and the community out of bed, and the heavy thump of wood landing in the fire pit signaled that at least one person had obeyed. He called out to someone who shouted back from the other end of camp, and with that, the place swarmed to life.

Inside the tent, I struggled to get moving. Even with Aren’s arm to rest my head on and a few wool blankets beneath us, my back had grown stiff and my muscles tender overnight. My breath came out in a plume of white as I climbed over him and collected my clothes from the floor.

Aren yawned. “Come back,” he mumbled. “I’m not ready to start the day.”

I sighed. “I’m supposed to be making friends.”

I’m your friend. Get over here.”

Big thanks to the WIPpet host… um… actually, I’ve been away for so long that I’m not even sure who’s doing the job. I think it might be Emily Witt. Someone correct me if I’m wrong!

For more WIPpet Wednesday fun, visit the link here to see what everyone else is up to!

My Reading Year in Review


2015 was… honestly, it wasn’t a great year for me as a reader. This wasn’t for lack of good books to read. It was more a problem of me being too deeply involved in editing my own work to be able to let go of that critical mindset, relax, and enjoy someone else’s words and worlds. My DNF pile grew almost as much as my “finished” pile did this year. That doesn’t mean those books will never have another chance to thrill me, but it did mean it wasn’t the right time for me to enjoy them.

That’s more than a little heartbreaking for a reader, but it is what it is.


A bit of my year

I was terribly excited about Anna and the French Kiss after hearing nothing but rave reviews, but found that I really couldn’t get hooked by the problems of an average person at a fancy boarding school when my brain generally craves magic, epic adventure, and situations with higher stakes than “not getting the cute boy.” Does that sound harsh? It shouldn’t. We all have different tastes, and contemporary romance generally doesn’t suit mine. This one seemed like a well-written book, it just didn’t appeal to me. And that’s perfectly fine. I’ll probably give it another shot when I’m in the mood for something lighter, then pass it along to someone who will cherish it.

(That said, I finished my John Green kick this year with An Abundance of Katherines. He’s as contemporary an author as they come, and I adore the humour and insightfulness in his work. Really wonderful and entertaining stuff.)

I was bouncing up and down over the concept and back cover copy of Dorothy Must Die, but didn’t make it more than four or five chapters before deciding it wasn’t for me. I guess it’s like dating. Sometimes two very nice and attractive people go out, and the chemistry’s not there. It’s no one’s fault, and it’s probably best to move on rather than forcing it.

There were plenty of great reading experiences this year, too. Stephen King is one author I can always count on to grip me to the point where I neglect my family and housework, and Revival and Mr Mercedes were no exceptions. I actually preferred the latter, though it was a thriller and not a horror novel, which was a pleasant surprise.

Sarah J. Maas is another author who consistently floors me with her talent. Crown of Midnight (book two of the Throne of Glass series) didn’t thrill me the way book one did (and had one moment toward the end that made me feel a little cheated as a reader), but her writing was gorgeous enough to get me through. And then there was A Court of Thorns and Roses, where I got that writing I love, a big, beautiful fairy tale retelling, characters I liked better than any she’d created before, and everything I could have asked for in a book. HIGHLY recommended!

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black was a fantastic read. I enjoyed Tithe several years ago when I read it, and this was even better, with characters I found more relatable.

Krista Walsh has been busy with her Cadis trilogy this year. I had the privilege of beta reading both Bloodlore and Blightlore, and they both sit in well-deserved places of honour on my bookshelf. I adore Fantasy that doesn’t try to be self-important, but focuses on telling a damned good story with characters I like (and good writing is essential, but pretentious language can take a flying leap out the window), and these fit the bill perfectly.

The Book Thief was absolutely one of my top picks this year. I was reading it while we were moving, and it was hard to pay attention to checking off numbers as the movers brought things in because all I wanted to do was read. This is a really beautiful book on every level, and though the movie was okay, it is NOTHING compared to the book. Read it. Read it now. If you’ve only seen the movie, you have no idea how amazing the story is.

The Viper and the Urchin was a gorgeous indie surprise, and one I can’t say enough positive things about. Celine Jeanjean’s book should be getting far more attention than it is, and it kind of ticks me off that no one has heard about it. Great writing, an interesting new world, fascinating characters that aren’t anything like what you expect them to be… it’s a quick read and a wild, fascinating ride, and everyone should be reading it.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Michelle Hodkin): I got this one from the library, and in spite of hating the creepy, controlling, stalkerish ways of the love interest, I really enjoyed the story. I was a little disappointed when he didn’t turn out to be a bad guy, but you can’t have everything. 🙂

I, Ripper (Stephen Hunter) was another library borrow and incredibly good until the end, which got a bit contrived and weird for me. Still, a really interesting take on the Jack the Ripper story. Would recommend.

Hollow City (Miss Peregrine #2) by Ransom Riggs was interesting, but like the first book the pictures were the best part of the story. It feels like the stories were cobbled together around cool pictures. That’s fine, but the seams really showed in this one, like the story was a slave to whatever photos seemed coolest. I liked the first better, and probably won’t finish the series.

I tried to get into a little Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance this year, but Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake #1 by the highly esteemed Laurall K Hamilton) didn’t do anything for me, so I’ll be looking elsewhere.

I know I’m missing some books that are on my Kindle and therefore not staring me in the face right now, and I apologize to them. This is one of the reasons I tend to order my favourites in paperback. It makes me happy to see them on my shelf, and it helps me remember them.

In non-fiction, re-reading Save the Cat and 2K to 10K (Brett Snyder and Rachel Aaron, respectively) was a good idea. One on story structure, one on productivity, both very helpful. For Love or Money (Susan Kaye Quinn) was a great read and an excellent follow-up to The Indie Author Survival Guide, which I also re-read to brush up on the basics. Definitely read the IASG first if you want to pick those two up. Write Your Novel from the Middle by James Scott Bell was an interesting read, but not anything I hadn’t heard elsewhere. Still, a good place to start looking at story structure if you’re looking for that. I like to read as much on craft as I can. Even if it doesn’t all stick or work for me, I’ll usually find something useful or inspiring in every book I read. I’ll definitely check out more by that author.

I also read Mindset by Carol Dweck, Ph. D. this year. It’s fascinating book, and was often a slap to the face as I saw how solidly I’ve spent my life mired in the fixed mindset (hint: this is not a good thing, and it explains all of my issues with perfectionism). If you’re the kind of person who hesitates to try new things, has a fear of failure, or is an excessive perfectionist–or if you live with one of these people–I highly recommend giving this one a read.

Is Everyone Having Fun Without Me? by Mindy Kaling was a really fun book. Sometimes non-fiction (and especially hilarious autobiographies) are exactly what I need to pull me out of a reading slump, and this one did it for me  early this month. The essay bits were my favourite. Bless you, Mindy! This book now sits proudly on my shelf with Yes Please and Bossypants.

So no, I didn’t manage anything like a hundred book challenge this year. But then, I never meant to. Right now I need reading to be something that I can relax and take pleasure in as I learn to get back to being just a reader sometimes. This means not forcing myself through books I’m not connecting with, and not feeling guilty about that. It means springing for the paperback sometimes when everything starts to look the same on my Kindle (particularly when my brain fog is bad and I can’t focus, having a paper book is really helpful. Of course, carrying them around hurts my back, so…). It means taking breaks between books if I need to, and easing off on reading when work pressure is too high.

It’s a hard place for a lifelong reader to be, but I’m getting back to finding my groove. You can’t be a writer without being a reader, and you can’t fill your bucket from a dry well.

So what’s up next? I’ve just started Crewel by Gennifer Albin, and it looks quite promising. Queen of the Tearling is still on the TBR list, and trying to get back to Days of Blood and Starlight (temporarily on hold as it wasn’t quite hitting the spot). I’m also expecting a new Stephen King book  for Christmas, and asked for the Positive Traits Thesaurus and Negative Traits Thesaurus (Ackerman & Puglisi), so we’ll see what happens there.

What were your best reading moments this year? Please share in the comments!



Sale Alert!

First of Her Kind )Book one of the Darkness & Light trilogy) by WIPpet mistress K.L. Schwengel is free until December 23! Time is almost up, so grab it while you can.


At Any Cost Chapter One Now Available!

Hey, everyone!

At Any Cost (prequel novella for the Bound trilogy) is almost ready to go. I’ll be sending it out to newsletter subscribers before Christmas as a “thank you” for everyone’s patience in waiting for Sworn. It will likely be available for purchase later, as well, but now’s a great time to sign up if you haven’t yet. Here’s the link.

Because free stuff is good, right? We like presents.

Here’s the link to chapter one, if you’d like a little sample. Enjoy!

AAC cover test 3


COVER REVEAL: Dissonance by Mariella Hunt

Hey, guys! You all know how much I love doing cover reveals, right? Especially for people who are kind enough to help out with mine, as Mariella did recently for Sworn.  This is actually the second reveal for this book, and I’m very excited to be able to share this gorgeous new cover with you!

Here’s all of the info you need. The book is available now, so if you’re interested, be sure to check out the purchase links.



Fifteen-year-old singer Allie Grant lives crippled by her illness. Though kept in isolation, she’s never alone: A spirit named Song lurks in the silence of her bedroom.

When Song reveals its dark nature on the night of her recital, the show ends in tragedy. Verging on death, Allie’s taken in by an uncle she’s never met. Julian claims to be a Muse with power over music and answers that’ll heal her.

It isn’t long before Allie suspects her uncle has a secret that’ll change her very identity. But with days left to live, she might fade without learning the truth…like the finishing chord of a song.

Barnes and Noble 

Author bio:

Mariella Hunt writes faery tales from her bedroom/library in Boise, Idaho. She enjoys reading the classics and hopes to one day write like Charles Dickens (hey, a girl can dream.)

Her first novel, Dissonance, was published independently in June of 2015.

Social links:

To Pre-Order, or Not to Pre-Order? That’s Quite the Question…

I’ve had a few people asking when Sworn will be available for pre-order on Amazon, so I thought I’d post an answer here. It’s actually a more complicated question than it seems, so I’ll post the short answer first, then the long answer for anyone interested in details.

Short answer: There probably won’t be Amazon pre-orders on Sworn. I’ll upload the file the evening before release day, and it should be available for purchase around midnight Eastern time (and definitely by the next morning on all retailers).

Long answer: This was a tough decision for me. There are distinct advantages to pre-orders. You guys would be able to buy as soon as you wanted, and the book has a longer period of time on “hot new release” best-seller lists. It’s convenient for you, and I know how exciting it is to receive the notification that a book has been delivered.

But I decided that getting the book to you as soon as possible was more important.

See, the way Amazon has things set up requires that we have the final version of the book (the one that will be delivered to you) uploaded ten days before the official release date. It makes sense on their end, as it allows them to know the product is in and properly set up well before they start charging people money.

But I needed that ten days. For me, that’s the difference between one last round of proof-reading or possibly delivering something with an extra typo or two. Or maybe it’s one week less for my beta readers, those wonderful volunteers who are currently poring over the pages looking for loose threads and errors, and who deserve as much time as I can give them.

Yes, I could have set the release date another ten days or two weeks back and pushed it into February. But you guys have waited long enough. I set the release date for the earliest day I could be sure I’d deliver my best work to you.

And in the highly unlikely event that something happens to prevent me submitting it on time (because of an act of God, alien abduction, moose-related injuries, etc.), I won’t be penalized by having my pre-order rights taken away for next year’s projects.

Is that a bit risky for me? Yep. The release date could slip people’s minds between now and the end of January. I could miss out on pre-order impulse buys. But the book will always be there, whenever you’re all ready for it. Whether you’re sitting with your finger hovering over the purchase button on the morning of the 29th, or whether you don’t remember until a week later, it’s going to be there for you.

And I can’t wait for you to see it.


Sworn Cover Reveal

Yes, the day has FINALLY arrived! I’ve had this cover (created, like the first two, by the incredibly talented Ravven) since early this past summer, but wanted to save the big reveal for a time closer to the release date.

And we now have a release date. *whee, party!*

And so much exciting stuff going on, including a SALE! Yep, to celebrate this cover reveal day, the Bound ebook is on sale for 99 cents on Amazon, Nook, Kobo, and iBooks! I don’t do this often, so if you know someone who’s been waiting for a sale to grab the book and start the series, today would be a great day to let them know about this little treat. 🙂

Visit my website here for the links.

But enough about that.

We’re here about a new book. An exciting book. A massive, twisting, thrilling, heart-pounding conclusion that some of you have been waiting rather impatiently for.

And it’s coming on Friday, January 29, 2016.

Are you ready?

Not every fairy tale ends with “happily ever after.”

The plan was simple: Find Ulric, the lost king of Tyrea, then return him to Luid to reclaim his throne from the tyrant who stole it. But though Aren, Rowan, and Nox accomplished the first part of their task, the rest is proving to be more complicated than any of them imagined.

Severn won’t give up his throne without a fight. Worse, it seems Ulric did not fare as well during his years in captivity as he’s led everyone to believe—and Rowan may not have escaped unscathed, either.

If Nox doesn’t find a cure for the king’s mysterious ailment, Aren will be forced to challenge Severn for the crown. It’s a battle Aren has little hope of winning. And if he does, it will cost him the love and the freedom he’s fought so hard to gain.

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