WIP Progress Meter

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Updates, Thank You, and an End of Year Blow-Out Giveaway


Well, it has been a hell of a year, hasn't it?

Raise your hand if you're glad it's almost over...

I won't kid you--this was a tough one for me. I lost Magic the Cat and her brother Mystic in early January, then my friend (and stepdaughter's mom) Jo in February, my friend Bethany in October, and one of my favorite artists, Gail, last month. And a friend lost his 10 year old son. Plus I had some unexpected health issues, and frustrations with my writing career, and you know, stuff.

But don't get me wrong. There were a lot of good things too. Time spent with family and friends, including a fun trip to Coastal Magic in February and to Stuart, Florida in September to hang out with my friend Terry (and do research for a book). And I got three new kitties!

On the writing front, I've had a blast working on the upcoming Everyday Witch Oracle Card deck with illustrator Elisabeth Alba, and of course, just signed a contract with St. Martin's Press for a goddess empowerment book for women that I will be starting work on in the new year. I'm hoping to write and self-publish another Baba Yaga book in 2019, too.

I am blessed with great friends, and readers who support me here, and on Facebook and Twitter, and over on my PATREON. I can't even begin to express my gratitude to you all. Authors are nothing without their readers. (Speaking of which, if you've read one of my books this year and liked it, I would be REALLY GRATEFUL if you could zip over to Amazon, Goodreads, or B&N and leave a brief review. Especially for the Little Book of Cat Magic, which only ended up with nine sad little reviews, probably because of the mess that occurred when it came out in October, and for Dangerously Driven, my most recent Riders novella. Pretty please? Thanks in advance!)

As a thank you, I'm going to do one more big blow-out giveaway to end 2018 on a positive note! There are going to be not one, not two, but FIVE prizes, so more people will have a chance to win. Check out this pile of goodies.

All the prizes!
The grand prize is a Fire Tablet! (You know, so you have something to read my books on...). There is also a $10 Amazon gift card (so you can buy more books), and signed copies of A Year and a Day of Everyday Witchcraft (to start your year off right), Circle, Coven & Grove (my first book), and Reinventing Ruby (my contemporary foodie romance). Plus some fun bookmarks and things.

But wait, you might say, two of those covers look different! Good eye. Thanks to my assistant Sierra, we've finally got Circle, Coven & Grove out in PRINT (I got my rights back from Llewellyn when it went out of print, but we hadn't gotten around to putting out a print version with the new cover by Mickie Mueller until now), and changed the cover of REINVENTING RUBY to something we thought better reflected it's romance themes. Don't they look great?


Ta da!

What do you think?

Tell me what the best part of 2018 was for you--and I hope to see you in 2019. Thanks again!

(To enter, simply fill in the Rafflecopter form. No purchase necessary.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Monday, December 17, 2018

Lucienne Diver Talks Revision Hell

Some of you already know my friend Lucienne Diver, who is both an author and one of the agents at The Knight Agency. Needless to say, she's a very busy woman, but she was kind enough to come share her experiences with revisions, and give you a sneak peek at her new book, THE COUNTDOWN CLUB. (Hint: It sounds amazing.) Be sure to let us know what you think (either about revision, or the book, or both) in the comments! Lucienne will be giving away a copy of the book to TWO lucky commenters.

Take it away, Lucienne!



My Prolonged Process

So, the demented little DJ in my head wants to rewrite songs from musicals today rather than be productive. For example, “How Do you Solve a Problem Like Maria?” from The Sound of Music:

“How do you solve a problem in revisions?
How do you catch a flaw and pin it down?”

It’s a curse. If only I could rewrite books with the ease of lyrics. Unfortunately, I have a horrible love/hate relationship with revisions. I adore first drafts – writing practically stream of consciousness, having a plan, but not knowing exactly how I’m going to execute it. You see, I was an inveterate pantser (a writer who flies by the seat of her pants, winging it) until I started writing mystery/suspense…and then my wings needed a lot more bolstering to get me off the ground. With my first YA suspense, FAULTLINES, I created a murder board, just like you see in all of those television showsThe Closer, Major Crimes, Without a Trace, Castle, and I’m sure a million more. It had the suspects, clues as to motive, means and opportunity, timelines, connections and all that jazz. It still didn’t quite tell me how I was going to weave these into the storyline. For that I drafted. And redrafted. And drafted again. I wish I could say that I learned from the experience and that my novels are now tightly plotted and then swiftly and seamlessly executed, but that would be a lie.

I maybe can get away with calling myself a plotser now (half plotter, half pantser), but that might be overselling things. What I am is willing to make mistakes and go over and over and over and over my work ad infinitum until it’s really there. Or at least, so I think. When I turn my novel over to my critique partner or readers, it’s absolutely as good as I can get it at that moment. I’m proud of the bright, shiny work I’ve done. Otherwise, I’d never let anyone see it.
And then they burst my bubble. 

All for the best. They make me work. Spot flaws I secretly suspected were there but was hoping no one would notice. Suggest fixes or improvements I never even considered. Or in some cases, cheer me on and give me the confidence to keep going. They make me better.
I make all the improvements, embarrassed that anyone ever saw the manuscript in the condition it was in, but I soldier on. I whip it into shape, and send it off to my agent, cross my fingers and toes and hope she’ll get back to me before I lose all circulation in them.
And receive another set of notes. 

Then, after those are handled and the manuscript is absolutely amazing, it goes out on submission…and perhaps there will be further suggestions, like a revise and resubmit from an editor. Or perhaps someone loves it and buys it and gives it a good home. But, of course, there will be more edits—content edits, line edits, copyedits.

So what am I saying here? That I’m a slow learner? That it takes a village? Well, no, and yes. This is just my process, and I’m willing to put in the work, as aggravating as it sometimes is, making every draft better and better until I hit best. (Always with the realization that I could tinker until I die and still never reach perfection.)

I guess this has been on my mind a lot lately, because, as some of you may know, I’m an agent as well as a writer, and I represent over forty authors, which means I’m always offering critiques, making suggestions, driving my authors—hopefully to greater heights rather than to madness, but I understand that it can be a fine line! But I understand their pain first hand. And shared pain is supposed to be lessened, right?
Right?
______________________________________

The latest product of Lucienne’s blood, sweat, and tears, THE COUNTDOWN CLUB, is available now! (Barnes & Noble, Amazon)

About the Book:
“Mysterious and cleverly plotted, The Countdown Club is a must read for fans of One of us is Lying.” ⸻Amy Christine Parker, Author of Gated, Astray, and Smash and Grab

Making her way through high school in her art geek bubble, Rayna Butler is used to being largely ignored by her classmates. Sure, she marches to her own beat—her Kool-Aid dyed hair and her edgy paintings make that perfectly clear. So when she arrives at school one normal Monday morning and finds a handwritten note in her backpack that reads “Six days to die,” she’s sure that it’s just a friend playing a prank on her.

Jack Harkness is one of the toughest guys in school, a loner hiding his painful home life. When he also receives one of the threatening notes, he doesn’t take it for anything he can’t handle.

Rayna and Jack soon discover that even more students have received threatening notes, although each has a different expiration date. “Six days to die”. . . “Two days to die”. . . “Twelve days to die”. . . there seems to be no rhyme or reason to it. And none of the kids appear to have anything in common.

The students take the threats with varying degrees of seriousness . . . until the first murder. Class salutatorian Liam is the first to go, when his house mysteriously burns down around him and his mother as well. Certain that their days are numbered, Rayna and Jack convince the others to join together to track
down the killer before their time is up.

About the Author:

Lucienne Diver spends her days agenting and plotting murder. Luckily, she limits the actual execution to fictional characters…so far as you know. She’s the author of the popular Vamped series of young adult novels (think Clueless meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer), the Latter-Day Olympians contemporary fantasy series of myth, magic and mayhem, and young adult suspense, including FAULTLINES, also from Bella Rosa Books.  Her short stories have been included in the STRIP-MAULED and FANGS FOR THE MAMMARIES anthologies edited by Esther Friesner for Baen Books, KICKING IT edited by Faith Hunter and Kalayna Price for Ace, and TRIBULATIONS, a Rogue Mage anthology, edited by Faith Hunter for Lore Seekers Press.

She lives in Florida with her husband and daughter, the two sweetest pups in the world, and an overflowing library under the mistaken impression that death is not allowed to take her until she has read ALL THE BOOKS.

More information is available on her website, www.luciennediver.com.

Lucienne and friend


Friday, December 14, 2018

Big News Announcement and Holiday Greetings



I know I have been a little scarce lately, but things have been crazy this year. Crazier, I should say. And December is always something of a wild ride, between running The Artisans’ Guild (50 artists, retail in December, ‘nuff said), making jewelry, and all the regular holiday stuff. Plus upstate NY winter and sick cats. But I’m going to try and catch up on all the news, starting with the big announcement I’ve been sitting on for a few weeks.

NEW BOOK CONTRACT!

In Friday’s Publishers Marketplace, there will be this announcement:
Non-fiction: Religion/Spirituality

Deborah Blake's A MODERN WITCHCRAFT PRIMER: GODDESS EMPOWERMENT FOR THE KICK-ASS WOMAN, a comprehensive guidebook to witchcraft as a female-focused religion, including detailed instructions on how to practice self-care in today's society through goddess worship and magic, to Daniela Rapp at St Martin's Essentials, in a nice deal, by Elaine Spencer at The Knight Agency.

That’s right; I signed a contract for my first mainstream nonfiction book, with St. Martin’s Press. This is really exciting for a couple of reasons. It will allow me to reach an entirely new audience, and hopefully help a lot of women who are trying to find ways to feel more empowered in an increasingly overwhelming world. Don’t worry, though—this doesn’t mean there will never be another Llewellyn book. This is simply a fork in the road, not an entirely new path. Still, it is VERY cool, and of course, I’ll be celebrating with a giveaway! 

Celebration Giveaway!
 Check it out: A Fire tablet, a signed copy of The Little Book of Cat Magic, a broom pen, a regular pen, a stuffed dragon, a black cat bookmark, and an assortment of other bookmarks!

We’re also shopping a contemporary women’s fiction book, and I’m working on the next book in the Baba Yaga series, which I hope to self-publish in the new year, other contracts allowing.

For those of you who are still holiday shopping for Yule and/or Christmas, I’ve got a bunch of fun things up on my (mostly moribund for the last few years) Etsy shop. There’s some jewelry (Pagan and otherwise), some signed books and tarot decks (usually with other goodies), and due to numerous requests, I’ve also created some spell kits for Opening to Love, Protection and Strength, Healing and Peace, and Prosperity. The kits are available in either lovely carved wood boxes or pretty organza bags, with or without signed books. You can check it out here:
Keep in mind that we’re getting close to the holidays, and even with priority mail, I’ll need a few days to get things to you. So if there is something that strikes your fancy, order it soon.


 

 What the spell kits look like.

I’ll be doing an end-of-year wrap-up in a couple of weeks, but in the meanwhile, I wish you all a Blessed Yule, a Merry Christmas (a belated Happy Hanukkah) and all the joy in the world.

And now to the giveaway! As usual, all you have to do to enter is fill in the Rafflecopter form. No purchase necessary. Maybe you'll end up with an extra gift for yourself this holiday season.

 
 

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Harry Dresden Health Scare Saga

It has been a rough week in Casa Deb. If you haven't been following along on Facebook, Twitter, or my Patreon, you  might not know that I had to take Harry Dresden in to the vet early on Saturday morning after Thanksgiving. (On Small Business Saturday, when I had to be to work at the shop by about 9:15 and work most of the day.)

Harry hadn't been eating well for days. At first I thought it was just a hairball, which he's had before, but by Friday night is was clear something was really wrong. He stopped eating altogether and was very lethargic. SCARY.

Not a happy cat
I was at the vet for their emergency Saturday hours at 8:04, right after they opened. Our regular vet wasn't on duty, but the new vet, Dr. Inman, was just lovely. She examined Harry and he had a fever of almost 105 (cat's can run up to 102.5 and be considered within normal range, but 105 is HIGH). All the blood tests came back normal, including precautionary testing for feline leukemia and feline AIDS (whew). X-rays were inconclusive, but we thought maybe he'd eaten a mouse or something that didn't break down entirely. I had to leave him there for treatment for the weekend, but at least I knew he'd be in good hands.

Saturday night his fever was down (with kitty NSAIDS) and he'd had a big poop, so we thought maybe he was past the worst of it. But Sunday she called and told me his fever was back up. More x-rays, more blood tests. Some discussion of possible scary rare illnesses that we wouldn't be able to send out blood tests for until Monday.

Then on Monday, he was better! Fever had gone down and stayed down, and he was eating again. They wanted to keep him one more day just to be sure, but he seemed recovered. I went in to visit him after work and got lots of kisses and wiggling (he'd been so sick when I brought him in, he just sat in my lap listlessly). My friend Ellen, who works at the vet as a dog groomer, called me that night to tell me he'd complained LOUDLY after I left without him, and made everyone crazy. Oops. But still, a good sign.

Happy to be home
So I picked him up Tuesday afternoon. He was definitely feeling better, and much perkier. (I, on the other hand, was a little less perkier after I paid the bill. Oy.) And very happy to be home, even if Ember and Koshka hissed and growled at him because he smelled like vet. I was mostly just really relieved that it was over, because to be honest, I was terrified I was going to lose him too, and after this year, I didn't know if I could bear it.

Then he didn't eat dinner. And barely touched breakfast. So I called my regular vet, and she told me she thought I should bring him back in. (Along with Angus, who has a huge sore on his neck and was supposed to go on Tuesday, but managed to elude me.) Did I mention it has been snowing all week?

So much for my day off when I was going to get lots done. But kitties come first. So back we went, with both cats complaining loudly about the unfairness of it all. (Which was actually a good sign in Harry's case, because he hadn't made a peep when I took him in on Saturday.)

Still no temp, and he looked otherwise good except some redness in his throat, like a human might get with a bad bug. So Dr. Baker thought he'd probably had a virus, which he was still fighting a bit of, and the antibiotic he'd been put on (which would be useless against a virus, but had been a precautionary measure because we had no idea what was going on) was probably making him nauseous. Poor boy. So that's been discontinued, and he's back home again. He only nibbled at dinner, and a bit more later, but I've got my fingers crossed that he'll feel more like eating in the morning.

Huge appreciation to all my Patreon supporters--the money from that will really help to pay these vet bills. More appreciation to the people who have been buying the new necklaces and signed books I've put up on my Etsy Shop. That helps too.

Plus all the folks who have been sending out prayers, good vibes, and Reiki. You all rock.

Here's hoping that Harry Dresden is back to his usual spunky self soon.

It has been a rough week

Friday, November 16, 2018

Feline Friday: A Kitten Update


I realized I hadn't posted a report on The Wild Bunch in a while, and since I just took them all to the vet on Wednesday for shots and exams, I figured this would be a good time.

They're all doing very well--getting along with each other and Angus. They're technically not kittens anymore, since Harry Dresden is 15 months old and Koshka and Ember are about 17 months. But they still ACT like kittens, ramming around and getting into things and occasionally breaking something. (Sigh.)

 This is Koshka, playing with all the toys at once.

 Harry seemed to enjoy his first Samhain/Halloween. He went dressed as a witch's cat.

 Ember is turning into a bit more of a cuddler than she was in the beginning, although when she comes to bed with me she still insists on sleeping down by my calves.

 Two black cats, but as different from each other as they can be.

 I call Koshka my "Fluffernutter," because he is both fluffy and nuts.

Angus gets along with everyone, thank goodness. He's enjoying being the one in charge for a change.

The vet report was good. Everyone is healthy. Ember is actually the heaviest, at 10.4 lbs--and because she's small, I'm going to have to watch her weight. She's a tiny bit tubby. Harry Dresden weighed 10.3 and is sleek and fast as a demon, and Koshka is 9.7 lbs--all that fur is deceptive, and he looks larger than he is. The other two have probably stopped growing. If Koshka is part Maine Coon, as we think, they can keep growing for 2 or 3 years, so he might get a bit bigger.

I still miss Magic and Mystic terribly, and these guys aren't as consistent about keeping me company in bed, which is rough and makes me threaten to get another cat...but mostly they are wonderful and I feel very lucky to have found them all.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Happy Halloween and a Blessed Samhain

Wishing you all a very happy Halloween, and a blessed Samhain to those who celebrate.

May your day be just the right amount of spooky, with more treats than tricks. And if you're lucky, a black cat to cross your path.

Here's a glimpse at my holiday.

The ritual altar set up from last Saturday

One of these things doesn't belong on the table...

Harry Dresden and his first pumpkin

My remembrance altar
This was a bittersweet holiday for me, with so many losses in the year. I have never had a remembrance altar with so many pictures. Magic the Cat and her brother Mystic. My friend (and my stepdaughter's mom) Jo. My friend Alex's son Charlie. And my friend Bethany earlier this month. It was a tough one. But the year has also been filled with blessings...and all of you are among them.

Thank you for taking this journey with me. I hope your day is magical!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Bad News Good News Giveaway


By now, many of you have probably figured out that there is a problem with my new book from Llewellyn, THE LITTLE BOOK OF CAT MAGIC. You may have preordered, and gotten a message that the book's delivery is delayed. Or gone to buy it and gotten a message that said it was unavailable. All I can do is give you my huge apologies for any inconvenience, and try and explain.

It turned out that when the book came into the Llewellyn warehouse, there was a problem with the cover. The printer is working on fixing it, and they're not sure yet if they are going to have to do an entire new reprint, or if the current copies can be used. It might be resolved right away, or it could take a month or two. I can't tell you when you will get it. (Although a few copies have apparently gone out to small distributors and individuals who ordered directly from Llewellyn, they were concerned that the flaw--although minor--would be enough to get the book rejected by Amazon and B&N.)

What I can tell you is that you WILL get it if you have ordered it already or if you order it now. I hope you won't give up on the book, because I wrote it from the heart and Magic the Cat and I worked REALLY hard on it.

In the meanwhile, here is a giveaway to hold you over while you wait. Llewellyn did send me my author copies (which have the same small flaw--the top cover won't sit quite flat) and I'm going to be giving away a signed copy, along with a bunch of cute cat-themed goodies, like a black cat notebook, a black cat bookmark, a broom pen, a fun little kitty and more. The second prize (yes, there are TWO) is an Amazon Fire 7 tablet, in case you don't want to wait for the print copy, and choose to buy the book in eBook form instead. (Since there is no physical cover, all the eBook orders went out on time.)

*For those of you who did get the book in eBook form, if you have a moment, could you put up a review on Amazon (and/or Goodreads)? Because most people haven't gotten the book, there are no reviews at all!

Win a Fire 7 or a signed book with goodies!
 You know you want all this fun stuff, right?

The book, not behaving as expected. Just like a cat.
As always, to enter you simply fill out the Rafflecopter form. No purchase is necessary and one random winner will be picked for each prize.

Again, big apologies from me and from Llewellyn, and my promise that we're working to fix the problem as fast as we can. Thanks for your patience!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Monday, October 8, 2018

Release Day for The Little Book of Cat Magic!


It's finally here!*

The Little Book of Cat Magic is out in the world. I hope you're all as excited as I am! **

I love this cover!
There are so many things about this book to be excited about. CATS! MAGIC! Plus, it is my first ever hardcover, which is pretty cool. I have to admit, there is something bittersweet for me about this book coming out now, because my beloved Magic the Cat, Queen of the Universe, isn't here to help me promote it (for the first time ever since I started publishing with Llewellyn). But as people have so kindly said, her part of the book is like her last gift to me and my readers, so I am trying to look at it that way.

And goodness knows, the new kittens will undoubtedly try to be helpful.


Here's Harry Dresden, wondering if he can order himself a copy without me knowing...

And here are a few buy links, you know, just in case you feel like ordering yourself one.

Buy Links

Barnes & Noble |Amazon |iBooks |Llewellyn  

Here is the blurb for the book, in case you are wondering what a book of cat magic is all about:

Deepen the bond between you and your cat as you weave magic together. This wonderful and witchy book is filled with a wide variety of spells, charms, and recipes that you can use to improve the lives of both you and your feline friends. From finding and naming a new cat to working with him as a familiar, The Little Book of Cat Magic has something for everyone who loves cats and magic.
Learn about cats throughout history and the myths, folklore, and deities associated with them. Explore spells for living with a cat, improving his health, and grieving and saying goodbye to him when his nine lives have run their course. Enjoy crafts and recipes, divination techniques involving cats, unique ways to channel your inner feline, and much more.

*Llewellyn has them right now. Amazon and other places might be a little late getting them in because there was apparently some delay at the printers. But if you order it now, they'll send it out to you as soon as they get it in, and anyone who preordered them should get them within a few days.

**I would normally have a great giveaway up here today, but as I type this (on Friday night, actually) I am about to head out of town to Baltimore to say goodbye to my beloved friend Bethany, who is dying of cancer. Today is her 34th birthday. And when it came down to a choice between being there for my friend and her husband, or promoting my book, it wasn't much of a choice. So I promise I will put up an even more spectacular giveaway in the next couple of days, hopefully after I have received my own author copies and will have a couple to give away. In the meanwhile, I appreciate your patience.

Happy book day! I hope you'll share a little bit about your cats in the comments.



 

Monday, October 1, 2018

RoberCon 2018

I just spent last weekend making my yearly jaunt to my local SF/fantasy/gaming convention, located at the Roberson Museum in Binghamton, NY, a little over an hour from my house. As usual, RoberCon was a blast. I got to meet Anne Bishop, who was the author guest of honor, and hang out with pal Tamora Pierce and her stalwart assistant Julie. My friend Alethea Kontis, who was visiting the area from her home in Florida, was one of the guest authors this year too.

My friend Ellen went with me (her nickname for this is "The Entourage" since she does the driving, carries the heavy bags, and is generally useful) and we got to meet up with our friend Robin and her kids, my goddess-children Nate and Sophie, who live nearby and come every year. I love it that my friend has raised some serious geeks. (Nate made his own cool steampunk vest, and Sophie wore my favorite shirt, which says, "Trust me, I'm a Doctor."

I was exhausted going in and I'm more tired now, but a great time was had by all. I have the pictures to prove it.

The gang, with the addition of Princess Alethea

Princess Alethea posing on the stairs of the Roberson Mansion

Day One lunch break: Sophie, Robin, me, and Nate. Check out that vest!

That's a lot of adorable. (Sophie got a new dragon. So did I.)

New dragons for everyone!


Crystal Sarakas, Tamora Pierce, Anne Bishop, Alethea Kontis

Anne Bishop, Alethea, me, and a slightly gimpy Tamora Pierce

Dancing authors!
I love that last picture. It really captures the spirit of these amazing authors. As soon as I stepped away from our "serious official picture" they all started dancing, even Tammy with her cane! Now you can see why we always have so much fun.

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