ANOTHER Giveaway: Advance Copy of Through the Narrows

I just put a signed copy of the first novel in the Tomahawk and Saber Series in the mail to our lucky winner from New Jersey. But if that’s not you, don’t despair—you could win a paperback of the second book before it’s released!

Enter here for your chance to win a signed copy
before it’s on sale on November 3rd!

Through the Narrows

Thanks and good luck!

P.S. If you’d like to take a peek, check out the ebook, which is available now, for a free preview.

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Giveaway: Enter on Goodreads for a Free Signed Copy of Language of the Bear

If you like free stuff, historical fiction, signed books, or just winning in general, this is for you.

Language_of_the_Bear_cover

Celebrate the release of Book Two of the Tomahawk and Saber series aNdola enter the giveaway of the book that ignited it all!

 

P.S. Watch out for another upcoming giveaway for the impending paperback release of Through the Narrows.

 

Book Birthday: THROUGH THE NARROWS is Available Today!

Through the Narrows, the new historical adventure in the Tomahawk and Saber series set during the French and Indian War, is available in ebook from Amazon today!

Through the Narrows

This is the second book in the tales that began with Language of the Bear, and some early readers have told us that they enjoyed this one even more than the first.

(By the way, if you prefer paper you can hold, paperbacks will be available very shortly—stay tuned.)

 

***

Wolf Tongue of the Susquehannock and Lieutenant Hugh Pyke of the British Army barely survived their first mission together. Now with the French and Indian War beginning to flame around them, the frontier of the Pennsylvania Colony is restless.

When they’re called back to protect Millers Town from Indian raiders, Pyke and Wolf Tongue discover the settlement is outnumbered and there is no militia to reinforce them. Even worse, Pyke and Wolf Tongue fear the townsfolk harbor secrets just as deadly as their attackers.

As Pyke tries to build a haphazard defense with a band of farmers and children against an almost inevitable slaughter, the mysteries of the town begin to unravel. Pyke realizes his life is in danger from the very people he is duty-bound to protect—perhaps, even from the beautiful French outcast who seems to know more than she should.

With a final, crushing attack imminent, Wolf Tongue hurries to rescue a kidnapped girl who might be the only hope for the town’s survival while Pyke struggles to protect the innocent. As they carve away layers of deceit, both men must confront the terrible truths behind Millers Town to survive the dangers to their lives, their peoples, and their honor.

Through the Narrows continues the historical adventure of the Tomahawk and Saber series, filled with suspense and action that captures the deadly brutality, danger, and strength of Colonial America.

***

Thank you to everyone who’s enjoyed the first book and I hope you like Through the Narrows just as much!

“So you’re an editor? You, like, fix typos?”

If you haven’t worked with an editor (or don’t live with one to hear the end-of-the-day, get-me-the-wine stories), you might not know the work that goes into editing. 

Let me introduce the talented Rhonda Parrish, who’s doing some great work to make the books we all love and she graciously accepted an offer to give us a little bit about the day-to-day of how an anthology gets put together and edited. 

And writers, please note she’s looking for great writing right now for a new collection of short stories titled Sirens. Check out the details in the call for submissions here and give her your best work!


 

What Do You Do, Again?

by Rhonda Parrish

“So like, you just fix all the typos and then you get to have your name on the cover?”

A few months ago I was talking with someone close to me, let’s call them Jack, about the anthology I was working on at the time (I don’t remember which one it was) and they asked me that question. In complete sincerity. “So like, you just fix all the typos and then you get to have your name on the cover?”

At first I was angry–No. No I don’t just fix all the typos and then I get my name on the cover. That’s not how this works–but that initial offense disappeared quickly. Because Jack wasn’t trying to minimize the amount of work I put into an anthology, he just honestly didn’t know. Thinking about it afterward it became pretty clear to me that actually, a lot of people don’t know. When they see a book that says ‘Edited by NAME’ on the cover, they don’t understand what that means. And why should they? I’ve been a writer for quite a long time and even I didn’t know what that meant until a couple years ago.

SCARECROWNate offered me a spot on his blog to talk about pretty much whatever I wanted (because he’s awesome!). Originally I was going to talk about my latest anthologies, Corvidae and Scarecrow, but I changed my mind. I want to talk, just briefly, about my process when I’m editing an anthology. What do I do? Why is my name on the cover?

Things change from anthology to anthology, but the basic process can be broken down into twelve steps.

  1. I come up with an idea for an anthology. This has to be something that I think readers will be interested in but also something I like well enough (or in the case of Metastasis am motivated to work on) to not grow tired of it over the many months it is going to consume my life. Because they do. Anthologies definitely consume your life LOL
  1. If I’m not self-publishing, like I did with the Alphabet Anthologies, I write a pitch for the anthology, submit it to an appropriate publisher following their guidelines and then cross my fingers and wait.
  1. Once a publisher has accepted the anthology we sort out all the less-than-exciting (but very important) bits such as how I’m getting paid, how my authors are getting paid, how much we’re getting paid, when submissions will open and close, how many stories I can include, what the final word count is going to be, and other things along those lines.
  1. Details sorted, the publisher and I announce the anthology and try to put it on as many writer’s radars as possible even before submissions open. I increase my efforts to spread the word once submissions are open. It’s incredibly frustrating (for me and the disappointed author) to announce your completed table of contents or the anthology’s release and be told, “Oh, I wish I’d known!”
  1. During the submission period I continue to try and spread the word about the anthology and make reasonable efforts to let people know if my story needs have changed or refined. For example, with the Sirens anthology I’m aiming to have an equal number of sea-based sirens as sky-based sirens. If 80% of my submissions are for one kind of siren I will try to let potential submitters know (via blog posts and social media) that I’m seeing a lot of that type of siren and thus am hungry for the other variety.
  1. That brings us to reading submissions. I read subs throughout the open submission period and separate the stories into those I won’t be using and those I might be. The former receive rejection letters (Even though most will say similar things I type each individually, no copy/paste form letters) and the latter are shortlisted for further consideration.
  1. Once submissions close and every story has received an initial response I re-read the shortlisted pieces and cut them back further until I have my table of contents. I could write a whole series of blog posts about this step alone but for now let’s just say it’s a long, complicated and anxiety-producing decision-making process but I work very hard to ensure I have a strong, diverse collection of stories.
  1. After all the rejection and acceptance letters have gone out, it’s time for the editing to begin.Most stories go through at least three separate editing stages. First is the substantive editing stage. It’s at this point I send the author an email pointing out any trouble spots I’ve noticed–plot holes, endings which don’t work for me, stories beginning in the wrong place–that sort of thing. Sometimes I offer concrete suggestions on how to correct the problem, sometimes I just ask questions to help the author sort that out themselves. Occasionally we repeat this step several times before the author and I believe the story is the strongest version of itself that it can be.
  1. Next we begin line editing. This is where I use track changes to mark up the story. Moving things around, tweaking word choices, cutting all those extra thats which seem to sneak into so many people’s work… After I’ve marked up the manuscript with my suggestions it goes back to the author for them to approve or reject every single change.But wait! There’s more!
  1. After all the stories are fully edited I figure out what order they should appear in (this is another process I could write a whole series of blog posts about and it’s definitely a learning process for me. I’ve gotten better and better at it with each anthology), write an introduction, bundle it all together and pass it up to my publisher.
  1. The publisher does all sorts of things including formatting it and providing a cover and then proofs are sent out to every contributor, myself and (usually) an independent copyeditor. This is the point where the typos are caught, corrected and then the whole book goes back into the publisher’s hands to work the rest of their magic with.
  1. And then, at some point later, the book is published and we begin the process of promoting it.

Phew!

That’s incomplete, of course, but it does give you an idea about what I do to earn my name on the cover of each anthology I edit. Though I don’t write a single word of the awesome fiction you’ll find inside them, I work very hard to make each anthology the best it possibly can be. And then I work just as hard to get it into the hands of as many readers as possible. But that is most definitely the subject for another post on another day.

Do you have any questions? I’m happy to answer as best I can.

Otherwise, I’d like to thank Nate once again for inviting me to his blog and giving me the space to share a little bit about the job I love so much 🙂 Thank you!

Bio:

Rhonda ParrishRhonda Parrish is driven by a desire to do All The Things. She has been the publisher and editor-in-chief of Niteblade Magazine since 2007 (which is like 30 years in internet time) and is the editor of several anthologies including (most recently) Scarecrow and B is for Broken.

In addition, Rhonda is a writer whose work has been in publications such as Tesseracts 17: Speculating Canada from Coast to Coast, Imaginarium: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing (2012 & 2015) and Mythic Delirium.

Her website, updated weekly, is at http://www.rhondaparrish.com


 

Thank you, Rhonda, and keep up the great work! 

The 777 Writer’s Challenge – An Excerpt from my WIP

I’ve been challenged.

Mike Fuller, a fellow historical fiction writer, tagged me in the “777 Writer’s Challenge” in which I’m dared to share seven lines, beginning with the the 7th line down on the 7th page of a work-in-progress.

Well, I’m not usually one to back away from challenges. So here’s an excerpt from Through the Narrows (written by me and Evan Ronan), the second novel in our Tomahawk and Saber series:

As he turned, a sudden movement caught his eye and he reflexively braced himself. He grunted and twisted his body as a boy slammed onto his back. Wolf Tongue rolled, swinging the boy over his shoulder and locking him in a hug against his chest.

Root Cutter, Wolf Tongue’s nephew, struggled against the grip for a moment before Wolf Tongue released him.

The boy turned to face his uncle and lifted his chin high. He was growing quickly and strong, one of the few who seemed to be. He almost stood to Wolf Tongue’s shoulders and had a sharp jaw and quick hands. Like his uncle, he wore his hair shaved on all sides and with a lock of hair at the back crest, but today he wore a tight cap dyed red and black. His nose, like that of his mother who was taken by the pox, was arched like a hawk’s beak.

Root Cutter straightened his leather tunic. “You never saw me hiding there. If I’d had a knife …”

Wolf Tongue winked. “If you had a knife, I’d have a new one for my collection.”

Slightly more than seven lines. And also only barely a work in progress, as it will very shortly be released. (Don’t worry, I’ll let you know when it’s out.) But fun anyway, I hope.

Thanks for the challenge, Mike!

 

Read Chapters 1 & 2 of Language of the Bear Here

Language of the Bear, a historical adventure set on the frontier of Colonial Pennsylvania is now out in ebook and paperback!

The first shipment of finalized paperback editions of Language of the Bear

The first shipment of finalized paperback editions—they’re so pretty.

People have been reading the ebook since May, and for all of you who prefer print, the paperback edition is now available at Amazon (check it out here). Within a few weeks, all other stores like Barnes & Noble and your preferred independent store will be able to order them for you. Yay!

So to celebrate, I’m still giving away a signed, free copy to one person who’s joined my email list (hurry – the drawing is on July 23rd!), and I’m posting chapters 1 and 2 from the book to give you a taste.

I hope you enjoy it!


 

One – An English Messenger

Wolf Tongue pursed his lips in a small, crooked smile even while his fingers tightened on his knife. He looked to his right through a gathered crowd to the young woman who stood beside her father and winked.

Fox’s Smile did not reflect his confidence. Instead of her usual, teasing grin, she stared back with a tightness around her lips that spoke more of concern than jovialness. Her eyes, darkened by lowered eyebrows, darted to the strange man who’d come to their village from the English before coming back to Wolf Tongue.

She was beautiful even when she was worried.

Read the rest of Chapter 1 and 2 here …

 

Giveaway: A Free, Signed Copy of Language of the Bear

The final proof has been proofed and the paperbacks are coming!

The final proof has been proofed and the paperbacks are coming!

We just submitted our final files for printing the paperbacks of LOTB, and what better way to celebrate than to give one away?

Thank you to everyone who entered our Goodreads giveaway and added Language of the Bear as to-be-read. If you didn’t win one of the copies, I’ve got one more autographed copy to give away to the awesome folks who’ve joined my mailing list.

If you’d like a chance to win, just add your email here.

It will only take about 7 seconds. And I promise you won’t get be awash in a bunch of emails—I don’t email often, and you’ll get some special discounts on books, free stuff, and exclusive, subscriber-only writing.

If you’re already on my mailing list, thank you, and you’ll be entered for the random drawing on July 23.

Thanks, and good luck!

P.S. If you REALLY want this free signed copy, every time you share this on your favorite social media sites, I’ll add your name in for another chance to win. 

 

Potential Cover Art, Vague Updates for Tomahawk and Saber, and Other Writing

Last weekend was a storm of writing, outlining, raunchy jokes, planning, beer, and an actual, literal storm.

So after doing some fun work with great friends, I thought I’d give just a quick update. Here’s what’s shakin’:

Original rough-draft cover art for Language of the Bear

Lego already made a Wolf Tongue and Pyke set!

Lego already made a Wolf Tongue and Pyke set!

OK. No, it’s not. But it was a pretty funny find when we were just browsing stock photos. And if not for LOTB, there’s always book two. Speaking of which …

Through the Narrows is almost done! Yes, a little later than we planned (sorry!), but we’re taking a little extra time to make sure it’s just right. And so far, the reactions we’ve gotten are that this book is even more suspenseful and faster-paced than LOTB.

So the release is coming soon and if you want a sneak peek at the cover art and jacket copy, we’ll be releasing that to our mailing lists before anywhere else—so please make sure I’ve got your email.

Tomahawk and Saber books 3 and 4 are going to knock your moccasins off. Evan and I did some semi-detailed outlines for the next few books, and as much as I think TTN is upping the tension and thrills, the ones that come after are going to keep that momentum going. No spoilers, but suffice to say I’m very excited to start putting our characters back into harm’s way. This, of course, means lots of writing.

My solo project hit half-way. As I’m writing novels with Evan Ronan, I’m also typing away on solo projects. I’m not in the habit of talking too extensively about works in progress until they’re completed, so this isn’t a pitch. Just me letting you know that I’m still writing. And also that I’m really enjoying the scenes where Rammstein is the perfect soundtrack and that I’ve only got about another 50,000 words until I write “The End.”

The End.

Cover Reveal: Corvidae from World Weaver Press

Want some cool cover art and great stories about those creepily crafty crows? (And maybe ravens, jays, magpies, etc?) 

I’m lucky to get to reveal the cover art and blurbs for this anthology from the folks at World Weaver Press. What makes me even more excited about it is it’s edited by a very nice, smart person I’ve had the pleasure of working with in the past and finally meeting at World Fantasy Con this past year, Rhonda Parrish. Plus, it features a writer friend, Michael S Pack

What I’m getting at is that the cover art and stories all look and sound great. So check this out:

 

CORVIDAE-coverAssociated with life and death, disease and luck, corvids have long captured mankind’s attention, showing up in mythology as the companions or manifestations of deities, and starring in stories from Aesop to Poe and beyond.

In Corvidae birds are born of blood and pain, trickster ravens live up to their names, magpies take human form, blue jays battle evil forces, and choughs become prisoners of war. These stories will take you to the Great War, research facilities, frozen mountaintops, steam-powered worlds, remote forest homes, and deep into fairy tales. One thing is for certain, after reading this anthology, you’ll never look the same way at the corvid outside your window.

Featuring works by Jane Yolen, Mike Allen, C.S.E. Cooney, M.L.D. Curelas, Tim Deal, Megan Engelhardt, Megan Fennell, Adria Laycraft, Kat Otis, Michael S. Pack, Sara Puls, Michael M. Rader, Mark Rapacz, Angela Slatter, Laura VanArendonk Baugh, and Leslie Van Zwol.

Praise for Corvidae:

“Smart and dark like the corvids themselves, this excellent collection of stories and poems will bring you a murder of chills, a tiding of intrigue, a band of the fantastic, and—most of all—an unkindness of sleepy mornings after you’ve stayed up too late reading it!”

— Karen Dudley, author of Kraken Bake

“Magic and corvids collide in this certain to intrigue anthology.”

— Joshua Klein, hacker and inventor of the crow vending machine

“A creepy, crazy kaleidoscope of corvids,Corvidae is what happens when you bring together ingenious writers and sagacious subjects. It’s nothing short of a thrill ride when this anthology takes flight.”

— Susan G. Friedman, Ph. D., Utah State University; behaviorworks.org.

“As sparkling and varied as a corvid’s hoard of treasures, Corvidae is by turns playful and somber, menacing and mischievous. From fairy tale to steampunk adventure, from field of war to scene of crime, these magical birds will take you to places beyond your wildest imaginings.”

—  Jennifer Crow, poet and corvid-by-marriage

Please consider adding this to your TBR list and then, you know, actually R it.

Through the Narrows Edits, Outlining Books 3 and 4—a Working Weekend with Evan Ronan

How many people can say they’re looking forward to working this weekend?

I can.

It’s not all that often that Evan Ronan and I get to hang out in person anymore, more’s the pity. Still, our friendship from years ago has made writing of the Tomahawk and Saber series pretty smooth, despite living in different states now.

This weekend, though, is a working weekend when we’ll be under the same roof. On the agenda:

– Some final, very close to FINAL final, edits for Through the Narrows. (That’s book 2 of the series if you haven’t been keeping score.) We’ve gotten some edits back from our editors and now’s the time to work on the final polishes.

– Even more exciting is doing the more detailed outlines for books 3 and 4 in the series. We’ve got some solid ideas and plot lines that we think are going to shake things up for our characters (read: make their lives miserable), and, we hope, for our readers (read: make them surprised, but hopefully not miserable).

– And also, we’ll probably drink some beer. Possibly cider in homage to the history of 18th century America. After all, I think it was after a few drinks that we had the idea for these books in the first place.

So yes, there’s work to be done. But it’s work I love. And also, I’ll get to have some drinks with a great friend.