Award-winning author
Unusual times, remarkable places

The "Standard of Ur" from ancient Mesopotamia

The "Standard of Ur" from ancient Mesopotamia

30 December 2014

A new year, a new beginning

Wishing everyone a very happy and prosperous 2015!

Swallowtail, July 2014, San Juan Capistrano mission

11 December 2014

Guest post: Linda Andrews

 Today's guest is author Linda Andrews, who is a scientist and lives in a haunted house. She writes in a variety of genres: historical fiction, historical romance, paranormal romance, fantasy and time travel romance, and science fiction.

Her "Love's Great War" series is made up of historical romance novels and novellas set around the time of World War I.

Today, she talks about her own family Christmas traditions and offers a free ebook of A Gift from St. Nick or The Christmas Ship to one lucky commenter.

My Holiday Traditions
by Linda Andrews

In my house, the holidays are about traditions—family, food, and especially decorating. For me, the Christmas season begins when certain items appear. On Thanksgiving day, as our first tradition, I bring out a wooden nativity that spins. My mother started the tradition when I was growing up, and it took me 10 years to find one so I could continue the practice.
Tradition two is the setting up of the Christmas tree on the Friday after Thanksgiving. That first night, we simply hang the lights on it. No ornaments, just twinkling lights. There's magic in Christmas lights.

Tradition three is the displaying of my Department 56 ceramic villages. I started collecting them when my children were young, and I add a piece every year. My son is really good about helping me because the collection is rather, em, large.

Tradition four takes place on the Sunday or Saturday after Thanksgiving. It's putting up the rest of the decorations from hanging the outside lights to finishing the interior decorations, including the musical stuffed animals, Santas, Christmas trees, and my Hallmark holiday collections. The children traditionally decorate the tree, so now that they're adults we wait until they are home together. As the ornaments come out, we share memories, and I take pictures.

One thing we did while they were young was to buy ornaments each year so that when they moved out, they would have memories and decorations to take with them. This will probably be the last year my oldest will live with us, so the memories will be tinged with just a bit of sadness.

Tradition five is that the weeks running up to Christmas are the baking season (or the drafting of cookie slaves). I bake a little from Halloween to Thanksgiving, but my freezer eats the results, and so I have to start again. Over the years, we've added to the traditional sugar and gingerbread cookies, most noticeably peanut butter blossoms and Nutella cookies. Yum.

Traditions are important. To be entered in a drawing for an electronic copy of either A Gift from St. Nick or The Christmas Ship, leave a comment about your family traditions.

~ ~ ~ 

German nativity scene, early 20th century. Photo by Andreas Praefcke. Licensed under GNU v.1.2.

In Linda's A Gift from St. Nick, the hero brings with him several Germanic traditions, one which is the celebration of St. Nicholas Day. She provided this blurb about the book:
Hans Lubeck lost his birthright to a woman's deceitful games. Ten years later, he's on the cusp of fulfilling his dream of captaining his own ship. And another woman could jeopardize everything.
Schoolteacher Lenore Kerrigan devotes her time to her pupils and good works. She has no use for a man or the damage he could do to her reputation.
But this holiday season, fate and an island of matchmakers have other plans. Will they accept the gift of a lifetime, or will the past steal away any chance at happiness?
 ~ ~ ~

Find A Gift from Saint Nick at here

09 December 2014

December promotions, post #2

Eleven friends and friends-of-friends and I are each promoting one ebook this Christmas season at the Website "Books on the Vine."

Our promotion is called "12 Days of 99¢ Ebook Cheer" and runs from December 1 through December 12. As you might expect from the promotion name, we have all dropped the price of an ebook to 99¢ for these twelve days. My featured book is Claimed by the Enemy.

The promotion profiles one author each day (check at top right of the page to see that day's profiled author), offers a printable gift voucher you can present to a person to whom you are giving an ebook, a contest for best cover, and a raffle in which you could win an Amazon or Barnes and Noble e-gift card.

The raffle will take place at starting Friday, December 12.

The ebooks on sale are:
Claimed by the Enemy by Shauna Roberts  (historical fiction)
The Wine and Chocolate Workout by Greta Boris  (nonfiction: healthy weight loss)
Fathom by Merrie Destefano  (paranormal young adult)
Lost in the Light by Mary Castillo  (historical paranormal mystery)
The Forgetful Lady by Jacqueline Diamond  (Regency romance)
Shimmy for Me by DeAnna Cameron  (contemporary romance novella)
Deadly Little Secrets by Marla Miller  (romantic suspense)
Sinking Ships by Michelle Knowlden  (mystery novella)
Unexpected Superhero by Kitty Bucholtz  (paranormal romance)
Murder on the Hoof by Gayle Carline  (cowboy romantic suspense)
Lush by Beth Yarnall  (contemporary romance)
Do You Believe in Magic? by Susan Squires  (paranormal romance)

Also, for the Internet-impaired, Books on the Vine provides a nice illustrated guide to giving ebooks as gifts at

December promotions post #1

December 1 through 29, Fire and Ice Book Tours is promoting Claimed by the Enemy. Most blog stops are presenting a blurb, an excerpt, and the raffle to win Amazon gift cards (or a link to the raffle). A few have an interview with me or a review of Claimed.

Here is the blog schedule as of today:

Master Schedule

12/1 Fantastic Indie Author’s Interview

Stop 2 Lady Hawk’s Historical Fiction Blog

12/2 Coffee, Books, and Art

12/3 Romantic Chanteuse

12/4 The Naughty Siren (Interview)

12/5 Warrior Woman Winmill (Review)

12/8 Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews

12/9 Peace Love and Writing

12/10 Cryptic Reads (Review)

12/11 Confessions of a Bookaholic

12/12 Rose Wynters (Guest Post on the appeal of historical fiction)

12/15 The Best Indie Books to Read

12/16 Sexy Romance Reads

12/17 Bookskater

12/18 UK Romance Readers

12/19 Indy Book Fairy

12/22 The Complete Self-Publishing Indie Author’s Resource Site (Guest Post on the telling detail)

12/23 Alpha Male Books

12/24 Book Freebies, Contests, Sweepstakes, and Giveaways

12/25 Bestseller Books

12/26 Satin’s Bookish Corner

12/29 not yet scheduled
If you want to skip the blog posts and go directly to the Rafflecopter contest, you can find it here.

01 December 2014

Bargains, prizes, and confusion in Promotion-Land

Today starts some promotional efforts for Claimed by the Enemy. Over the next 28 days, you'll have chances to buy its ebook (and others) at a discount, enter raffles to win gift certificates, be able to read interviews with me and guest blog posts , and more.

Now if I can just keep up with all the events. My head is spinning already.

But onward, boldly!

Below I list what is going on today. I'll try to post each day in December to tell you what happens that day.

(1)  Claimed by the Enemy on Kindle and eleven other books will be 99 cents from now until December 12 as part of a "Books on the Vine" holiday promo. Visit to see the discounted books, vote for your favorite cover, and read interviews with the featured authors (a new one each day; I'll be featured December 3). There will also be a mid-December raffle (starting December 12) with Amazon and Barnes and Noble gift certificate.

(2) I will be doing a book tour through "Fire and Ice Book Tours" from today through December 29.
—Today I am interviewed at Fantastic Indie Authors.
—"Lady Hawk's Historical Fiction" blog has a brief excerpt of Claimed.
—Enter to win an Amazon gift certificate at my raffle.

(3) Drop in at the "Fire and Ice" GoodReads group for Claimed by the Enemy discuss the book if you like. Find it at

(4) Like Mayflies in a Stream ebooks were 99 cents this weekend as part of Hadley Rille Books' eighth birthday celebration. (The Kindle link for Mayflies is When I posted this morning, the price was still 99 cents. You may be able to get Mayflies or other great Hadley Rille historical fiction, fantasy, or science fiction ebooks before the online sites raise their prices again. See the Hadley Rille Book three genre catalogues at

Don't forget that books make great birthday and holiday gifts!

07 November 2014

Blog tour

Thank you to everyone who bought the Kindle ebook of Claimed by the Enemy when it was 99¢ last week.

In December, I'll be taking part in two blog tours. I'll post the dates and places where I'll be as I know them.

In addition, Claimed by the Enemy (Kindle ebook only) will be 99¢ from 1 to 12 December. If you liked the novel, consider giving it as holiday gifts to friends and family while it's at this great price.

If you'd like to host me at your blog, the blog tour below is still looking for people to interview me, review Claimed by the Enemy, or host a guest blog post. Click here and scroll down almost to the bottom to find the sign-up form.

31 October 2014

20 Kindle books on sale

These Kindle books are on sale today and tomorrow only for 99 cents each. The books include romance, mystery, fantasy, suspense, paranormal, and historical, so there's something for almost everyone—for you and for people you need birthday or Christmas presents for.

Kristy Tate   Stuck With You

Jacqueline Diamond    Calling All Glass Slippers

Michelle Knowlden    Jack Fell Down

Susan R. Hughes    Heart’s Desire

Louella Nelson    Emerald Fortune

Shauna Roberts    Claimed by the Enemy

Kathy Bennett    A Deadly Denial

Kitty Bucholtz    Unexpected Superhero

Michael H. Payne    Neighbors

Angie Ray    Ghost of My Dreams

Laura Taylor    Love at the Beach (3 books)

Debra Salonen    Judy Uncensored

Linda Carroll-Bradd    The Ring That Binds

GVR Corcillo    She Likes It Tough

Chris Marie Green    Shadows Till Sunrise

Barbara McMahon    The Bachelor’s Baby Promise

Donna Fasano    The Single Daddy Club: Derrick

Adrianne Lee    You Don’t Know Jack

Jan Hudson    Big and Bright

Kathleen Creighton    Demon Lover

29 October 2014

A signing, a sale, and more

1. The Kindle version of my newest historical novel, Claimed by the Enemy, will be on sale Saturday, November 1, 2014,  for 99 cents. You can find it at

2.  Also, I'll be signing the paper version of Claimed by the Enemy at New Orlean's new Tubby and Coo's Midcity Book Shop Saturday, November 1, from 11 am to noon with my good friend, bestselling romance novelist Farrah Rochon. The store is at 631 North Carrollton Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70119. It specializes in science fiction and fantasy but has many other kinds of books as well.

Claimed by the Enemy is historical fiction with strong romantic elements set in ancient Mesopotamia.

3. Do you like to listen to audiobooks? The audiobooks for my first novel, Like Mayflies in a Stream (historical fiction), and my novelette "The Hunt" (space opera) are available now. ACX provides publishers with codes for free books to give away to reviewers. If you would like a free audiobook of either and are willing to review it honestly after you've listened to it, please contact me at to get a code.

08 October 2014

We need superheroes: guest post by Kitty Bucholtz

Today's guest post is provided by writer Kitty Bucholtz.

The world needs superheroes 

by Kitty Bucholtz 

We are in the midst of the biggest superhero craze the world has ever known. Superhero movies—mostly based on popular comic books—hit theaters every few months, more often in the summer. Comic book conventions are springing up in every big city and lots of small cities. Advertising for these, and comic books themselves, is increasingly aimed at women as well as men. The erroneous assumption that comics are for young boys is constantly challenged in today’s marketplace. 
But many people think superheroes are for wimps. They imply that people who want to believe in superheroes are looking for a fast and easy answer to life’s problems. These people are supposedly weak, unintelligent folks who are unwilling to work for a better future, but are looking for someone else to solve their problems. 

I disagree.

I’m a Johnny-come-lately to the comic book scene, having read my first graphic novel at age 38 after leaving Archie behind as a child. Superheroes, though, have always been appealing to me. Not because I was looking for a savior to make my life better as I sat in front of the TV, but because superheroes have always inspired me to keep trying.

While my favorite graphic novel is Kingdom Come by the wonderful Mark Waid (whom I met at WonderCon this year—shriek!), my favorite superhero is Spider-Man. The versions of his story that I’ve read are about a down-to-earth boy-next-door who tries to make sense of a crazy accident. In a believably human way, he first uses his new power for himself, hiding what he can do from others. But before long, he learns to use his power for the good of those around him.

Spider-Man can’t save everyone, but that doesn’t stop him from trying to help whom he can. And he does so with a sense of humor, not taking himself too seriously.

That is what I look for in superheroes. I want more role models to help me keep trying to do what I can, whenever I can. I want reminders that I can be more than I first believed.

After reading Kingdom Come a few years ago, I had the idea to write superhero books for women. I wanted to write about women who came to realize they have more power than they thought.  These women fight for what’s right, fight for their families, and fight to hold onto love when all seems lost. They’re strong and courageous, even though they get knocked down and beaten up.

These are the kind of women I want to be, the kind of women I want to encourage others to be.

The world needs more superheroes—and any number of them could be your neighbors, your friends. You could be a superhero to someone nearby. So why not look to fictional examples to encourage us to become our best selves?

As for me, I’m going to keep writing superhero books for women. I’m going to keep encouraging my friends, my neighbors, myself that we all have more power than we realize.


Thank you, Kitty, for visiting and sharing your thoughts on how superheroes can motivate us.


Kitty’s book Unexpected Superhero, book one in the Adventures of Lewis and Clarke series, is a free Kindle ebook on Amazon from October 8 to 10 and 17 to 18. The short story prequel, “Superhero in Disguise,” is always free wherever ebooks are sold.

Kitty Bucholtz grew up forty miles east of Traverse City, Michigan, the pretend setting of Unexpected Superhero. She met and married the love of her life there and waved goodbye to everything she knew when she and her husband, John, struck out for parts unknown. Their adventures included going back to school, changing careers, and traveling Down Under. Kitty now writes wherever John is working on a film. They spent a few years in Sydney, Australia, where Kitty earned her Master of Arts in Creative Writing degree from University of Technology, Sydney.

You can find her online here:


You can find Unexpected Superhero at Amazon at

24 September 2014

Birthday contest winners

The following people won their choice of one of the six prizes:

   Vida Cruz
   Virginia Johnson
   P.I. Barrington
   Ralph Ambrose
   Katherine Jensen
  Ann Hendrix

All the winners have been contacted. If you are a winner but did not hear from me, please let me know.

Thank you, everyone who took part in helping me celebrate my birthday.

17 September 2014

Birthday contest

Every year on my birthday, I hold a contest and give away books—sometimes mine, sometimes other people's. This year, I'm giving away books published in 2014 by people in the Clarion class of 2009. For the first time, I'm using Rafflecopter instead of having my husband draw numbers out of a hat. He always did a good job; let's see whether Rafflecopter can match him.

There will be six winners. If you are one of them, you can choose among these books:

Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix. A horror novel that is also a parody of the Ikea catalog. Expect humor, gore, and disturbing images of home furnishings. Grady is a master of the bizarre and the sardonic; he can make you laugh and cringe at the same time. This is one of the books I've looked most forward to this year; it will be released September 23.

The Law and the Heart: Speculative Stories to Bend the Mind and Soul by Kenneth Schneyer. This is a collection of thirteen of Ken's short stories, some previously published, some not. (My favorite makes its first appearance here.) Ken, a law professor, is the leading writer of legal sf. Kim Stanley Robinson says of this anthology, "The stories here are formally ingenious, even startling, and at the same time full of heart; the combination is brilliant and delightful."

The 8th Continent by Matt London. This book,  released September 16, is for children age 8 to 12 years. It has already garnered good reviews from Kirkus Reviews and Booklist, and Kim Stanley Robinson says, "This is a delightful start to the adventures of the Lane family, with their flying tree and their mechanical bird tutor.  Evie and Rick and their brilliant if eccentric parents are wonderfully vivid, and the villains who try to impede them in their quest to save the Earth, equally memorable.  It's all in the great tradition of adventure fiction for young readers, running back through Akiko and Freddy the Pig all the way to Tom Sawyer."

The Measure of a Man by Shauna Roberts. This historical fantasy novelette (about 11,000 words) is about three very different men who find themselves facing zombies on an island paradise. (Kindle ebook only.)

Claimed by the Enemy by Shauna Roberts. This is my second novel set in ancient Mesopotamia. This one has romance, adventure, and palace intrigue. As before, I've used archaeological and textual evidence to make the novel as historically accurate as possible.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

10 September 2014

Secrets of getting your book into bookstores

Today's guest post is provided by Angela Quarles, author and bookstore employee.

Onderwijsgek, Wikimedia Commons, CC license
An author as bookstore employee: Lessons learned

One week ago, I launched my debut novel, Must Love Breeches, and I believe working in a bookstore in the past, and currently, has given me some unique insights into "the other side of the picture" and how to position it. I thought I'd share some of the lessons learned.

Nine times out of ten, an author goes about getting into a bookstore all wrong. Our book buyer isn't usually in the store, and I've had authors from out of town stop by and be upset that he wasn't there, demand I call him on his cell phone on his day off and let him know that XYZ Unknown Author is only in town a few more hours, etc. It's always best to call ahead.

photo by Keyhole Photography
I've also seen authors come in wearing dirty, smelly, wrinkled clothes, push their book across the counter, mumble a monologue, and then pull out a grubby piece of paper to write their name and number down.

Others have made the mistake when pitching to my boss that the book is listed on Amazon for $12 and they want to sell it to my boss for $12 and tell him he could mark it up however much he wanted. My boss right then and there said "No."

Keep in mind that bookstores are a business, and they will only stock your book if they think they can sell it. You need to market your book to them. And, er, don't make them have to sell it at a list price higher than Amazon; just don't. Even saying the word "Amazon" can kill your pitch.

 Tips for getting into a bookstore

  • Make an appointment and come dressed as you would for a job interview.
  • Have a one-sheet handout to give to them that has some reputable reviews and information on how to order. Bookstores expect to get at least 40% off your list price. You can see mine to get an example of a one sheet. Having a sales sheet like this is crucial and shows your professionalism. It also helps the harried book buyer make a decision in your favor :)
  • Leave a complimentary copy of your book for them to read. They need to know if they can sell it, and they know what appeals to their market. One author did come in recently with a professional attitude and did all the right things (including writing a great book) and my boss ended up loving the book and putting it in the front window with a nice little sign. He's also stocking the book.
  • Price your book so you can afford the 40% discount. But keep it reasonable. Make sure it's in line cost-wise with the other trade paperbacks in your genre from traditional publishers. My boss was pleasantly surprised that my book was $14.99 because he's used to self-pubbers pricing their POD books much much higher. Mine's priced so I make a buck and change in CreateSpace's Expanded distribution because I know that's not where I'm going to make most of my profit and I'd rather keep it the same price as other books on the shelf.
  • If you're able to get into Ingram, the book distributor, that's even better. I'm going to hold off and fulfill orders personally until I think the time and expense is worth it, but if/when it is, I'll be switching off CreateSpace's Expanded Distribution and setting it up on IngramSpark instead, which puts you in the Ingram catalog. The former only allows bookstores a 25% discount and no returns. The latter lets you swim with the big dogs. I'm trying to do a booksigning at a Barnes & Noble at my college bookstore for my reunion, and the buyer flat out said they don't order books from "CreateSpace, Lulu, XLibris, AuthorHouse and others," but he might be willing to give me the space if I brought my own. We're working on that. For those that don't know, bookstores order the bulk of their new books from Ingram, which is a wholesale distributor. Bookstores already have an account with them, can stock up on other books they need, and get free shipping. Not being there makes it easier to say no. Your book would have to be something they really, really want to stock to jump through alternative hoops.

Other lessons learned

Watching patrons browse has shown me the following:
art by Kim Killion
  • Cover art matters.
  • But even more so, make sure you have a good, clear spine designed. If mine makes it into another bookstore, it most likely will only be "spine out." The spine will be my first barrier of entry for casual browsers.
  • Have an eye-catching title. That, combined with the spine, may entice a browser to pull the book out and look at the cover.
  • Have compelling back cover copy, of course.
  • If you can get the employees to read it, even better! We hand sell so many books as recommendations to our customers. We have some titles that aren't typically stocked new at small indies like ours (85% of our stock is used), but it's because my boss and I are big fans and we're always pimping those books. (Parasol Protectorate and the Iron Druid Chronicles, if you're wondering)
  • Most customers seem to already have a book in mind when they come into the store, but there are others who do come in hoping that something will "jump out at them." For those browsers, that's where your spine, cover, title, and blurb need to do the heavy lifting, and why it'd be sweet if an employee could recommend it. You need to let people know your book is at a particular store. Being in a bookstore doesn't magically make it sell. People have to know about it. Tell your friends and social network!

Blog readers: Any other tips you can share? Have you worked in a bookstore too?


Thank you, Angela, for your great insights into how bookstores decide whether to stock independent (and other) books! Your sample one-sheet flyer for bookstores is a gem.


Angela Quarles is a geek girl romance writer whose works includes Must Love Breeches, a time travel romance, and Beer & Groping in Las Vegas, a geek romantic comedy in novelette form. She has a B.A. in Anthropology and International Studies with a minor in German from Emory University (Atlanta) and a Masters in Heritage Preservation from Georgia State University (Atlanta). She currently resides in a historic house in the beautiful and quirky town of Mobile, Alabama.

You can find her online here:

And you can find Must Love Breeches at the following links:
Amazon (universal):

04 August 2014

Contest winners and new novelette

Congratulations to Dina Steenerson and Kelley Roach, who each won a copy of my new Mesopotamian novel Claimed by the Enemy in my GoodReads contest! The books will go out today.

My new alternate history novelette "The Measure of a Man" is now available as a Kindle ebook at . Zombies. Hobbits (the Homo floresiensis kind). Komodo dragons. Love and sacrifice, honor and hard decisions. All on a beautiful tropical island. What more could you want?

31 July 2014

Stuff in my yard; news

I posted pictures of tarantulas on Facebook that were in and outside our garage the other day. Along the side I'm posting one tarantula picture as well as three shots, increasingly closer, of what I think is a tarantula nest. Afterward is a picture of our largest cactus showing how many tuna (fruit) it has this year.

I have several bits of news to share.

Can you spot the spider nest?
First, the Hadley Rille Books' Indiegogo ends in about 11 hours! If you've been meaning to support this great small press (which publishes great fantasy, science fiction, and historical fiction), now's your last chance to get the great Indiegogo perks. (You can contribute to HRB at any time, but only now will you get signed books or a teeshirt for doing so.) To donate, go to

Also, I am offering additional perks; find out at my last blog post at what I'm offering to people who donate.

Second, the Goodreads giveaway for my new self-published novel, Claimed by the Enemy, ends in about 11 hours as well. Claimed by the Enemy is a historical novel with strong romantic elements set in ancient Mesopotamia. To enter for a chance to win a signed trade paperback, click on the button in the Goodreads ad at top right or go to

Do you agree it's a tarantula nest?
If you don't trust your luck, you can buy the novel outright at as a trade paperback and as a Kindle ebook; it's also available at Barnes and Noble online as a trade paperback.

Third, most of the data from my previous newsletter list was lost. I am collecting names again for a newsletter that would probably come out three or four times a year. Each would include news and a giveaway and possibly some photos as well. To sign up, type in your email address in the very pale form in the right column or go to

Fourth, if you like to listen to audiobooks, my 2009 historical novel Like Mayflies in a Stream and my 2012 sf novelette "The Hunt" are both now available as audiobooks. Find them at and at

Fifth, I have a new dark historical fantasy novelette coming out tomorrow or Saturday. It's entitled The Measure of a Man, and I will be self-publishing it as a Kindle book. The hook: zombies in paradise. I'll post the link when it is up. UPDATE: The ebook is up at

Thanks for reading, and please sign up for my newsletter. You can cancel at anytime, and because MailChimp is handling the newsletter, I won't even know you've unsubscribed!

21 July 2014

Extra perks for HRB Indiegogo

To encourage more people to support the Hadley Rille Books' Indiegogo project, I'm adding some additional perks for those who see this blog post and who live in the United States or Canada.

These are in addition to any perks you receive from Hadley Rille Books as described at Indiegogo. To receive your desired extra perk, (1) contribute to the Hadley Rille Book Indiegogo, (2) forward your acknowledgement or receipt to me by email at, (3) tell me which perk you would  like, and (4) give me your mailing address.

writer, reader, and journaler swag set
• one 8.5- x 5.5-inch Ice Magic, Fire Magic lined notebook
• one 8.5- x 5.5-inch Like Mayflies in a Stream lined notebook
• one 8- x 5-inch Claimed by the Enemy lined notebook
• one Ice Magic, Fire Magic pen
• one Like Mayflies in a Stream pen
• several bookmarks

Ice Magic, Fire Magic (Hadley Rille Books, 2015) swag set
You will receive:
• one 8.5- x 5.5-inch Ice Magic, Fire Magic lined notebook
• five pads of Ice Magic, Fire Magic Post-It pads
• one Ice Magic, Fire Magic pen
one Ice Magic, Fire Magic mousepad 
one Ice Magic, Fire Magic totebag
• one signed bookplate

Gilgamesh gift pack
You will receive:
• one signed trade paperback of Like Mayflies in a Stream (Hadley Rille Books, 2009)
• one trade paperback of  Gilgamesh by Stephen Mitchell
one trade paperback of The Buried Book: The Loss and Rediscovery of the Great Epic of Gilgamesh by David Damrosch
• one 8.5- x 5.5-inch Like Mayflies in a Stream lined notebook
• one Like Mayflies in a Stream pen
five Like Mayflies in a Stream bookmarks

Claimed by the Enemy (Nicobar Press, 2014) gift pack
You will receive:
one copy of Claimed by the Enemy in the format of your choice. (If you choose trade paperback format, it will be signed.)
• one 8- x 5-inch Claimed by the Enemy lined notebook
• five pads of Claimed by the Enemy Post-It pads
• one Claimed by the Enemy mousepad
• five Claimed by the Enemy bookmarks
• one Claimed by the Enemy 2014 calendar magnet

An HRB novel dedicated to you!
You will receive:
• I will dedicate my next book for Hadley Rille Books after Ice Magic, Fire Magic to you! (Note: No such novel is yet contracted.)
• Your choice of one copy of Like Mayflies in a Stream or Claimed by the Enemy now or a copy of Ice Magic, Fire Magic after its publication in 2015. If you choose trade paperback format, it will be signed.

A story written just for you!
You will receive:
• A short story of 5000 words or less written for you by me with your choice of genre, setting, characters, etc. You can be the hero! Or the villain!

Choose your own perk!
Don't see what you want? Do I have it, or am I able to produce it? Write to me at with your idea for a perk and what you will donate to Hadley Rille Books to get it. I will agree to all reasonable requests.

Remember, contribute to the Hadley Rille Books Indiegogo at the Indiegogo site; don't send your contribution to me. I'll just buy chocolate with it. Also, these extra perks are for people with U.S. and Canadian mailing addresses; sorry, everyone else.

Thanks for helping Hadley Rille Press survive and thrive.

10 July 2014

In praise of small presses

The Publisher's Stroke
In February, Eric T. Reynolds, publisher and owner of small sf/f press Hadley Rille Books, had a stroke that landed him in intensive care, then a regular hospital ward, and then a rehab facility for almost five months. He is now continuing recuperation at home.

After Eric's stroke, HRB authors immediately pitched in—in ways big and small—to help keep the press going. We  kept the audiobook program alive and producing audiobooks of past releases; we released one novel and will release another this fall; we started a planned Indiegogo to raise money to raise the profile of HRB and its books.

I say "we" because like other HRB authors, I offered to help. But my schedule and health allowed me to help out only in a small way. The weight of the work fell on the shoulders of Terri-Lynne DeFino, author of several fantastic fantasy books, who is temporarily running HRB at the expense of her own writing and personal life. Authors Karin Gastreich, Julia Dvorin, and Kim Vandervort also have sacrificed greatly for HRB.

What is more remarkable is what didn't happen. To my knowledge, no one pulled a pending book, and no one went looking for a new publisher.

Like many small presses, HRB runs on love, and the HRB authors consider ourselves a family. Eric  treated his authors fairly and with respect, and it was only natural to help him out when he needed us.

Reasons I Love Being a Small-Press Author

In the continuing debates between those who favor traditional publishing and those who favor independent publishing, the small press often gets left out. It's a shame, given that being with a small press can offer the best of both worlds. Here are some of the reasons I'm a HRB author.

* HRB has high production values, and its covers are increasingly beautiful. (See some of my favorite HRB covers at right.)

* The authors have input into their cover art.

* Books go from manuscript to printed book in one-third the time a New York publisher takes.

* Small presses can specialize in niche audiences. One of HRB's specialties is archaeologically and/or historically accurate historical fiction by people with degrees in the field who know their stuff.

* HRB is not rooted in the past or in passing trends; the future of publishing is already here at HRB. The books feature characters of various ages and ethnicities and do not hide that fact. The women are realistic and varied, true strong heroines with believable motives and backgrounds. The big publishers still struggle with the concept of a "strong woman" and publish books whose women demonstrate their strength by swearing a lot, beating people up, or being rude.

* HRB contracts do not require the author give up all rights forever or to not write books for anyone else. Big publishers increasingly are squeezing authors with restrictive clauses.

* The HRB royalty rate is several times as high as my friends at large publishers receive.

* HRB books stay in print forever, and HRB continues to promote them. The typical large publisher gives a book a brief time, sometimes only a month, to sink or swim. Increasingly, big publishers drop authors whose books sell consistently but never are best sellers.

HRB's IndieGogo

HRB is currently raising money to help it become a bigger press. Our financial goal is $12,500. With the help of the funds raised, we hope to hire a professional publicist, go to more conferences, get on the shelves of more brick-and-mortar bookstores, and otherwise increase awareness of HRB's books and sell more.

If you agree that readers of fantasy, science fiction, and historical fiction need the innovative books put out by small presses I urge you to check out HRB's Indiegogo at You can contribute as little as $5; larger donations get you increasingly cool perks: signed books, an exclusive teeshirt, a walk-on role in a future novel, a chat with an author, a fifty-page manuscript critique, and more.

24 May 2014

At Château Labottière looking at art, Bordeaux, France

Myself, in the almost mandatory scarf French women wear
The Universe really wanted us go to Château Labottière today and see an unusual piece of art.

We woke up today never having heard of the house (now the Institut Culturel Berhard Magrez). But at a shop, the owner handed us a flyer for the house, saying her son gave tours there. We looked at the map. It was easy to get to and near a large city park, so off we went.

Then for some reason we didn't understand, the ticket desk let us in for free instead of the usual 7 euros each.

We toured the gardens and looked at the art downstairs. We were about to leave when the guard said we were allowed to go upstairs, despite the sign saying we couldn't.

Upstairs, we found this delightful piece: "Macedonia," made by Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos in 2006. It consists of a ceramic German shepherd encased within crocheted cotton.

According to the rather awkward English commentary, "To Portuguese women, knitting is a symbol of femininity. By clothing her ceramic sculptures....Vasconcelos is articulating her work on the opposition between animality and feminine softness."

Uh, okay. I liked it because the crochet was beautiful, and shaping it to fit the animal took a lot of skill.

Institut Culturel Bernard Magrez a.k.a. Château Labottière

As were were leaving, we picked up a brochure on the colorful history of Château Labottière. It was built before the Revolution for the brothers Antoine and Jacques Labottière, Bordelais printers and publishers who wanted a vineyard in the countryside. The brothers were ruined by the Revolution and had to sell the house. It next became a "pleasure house" called Tivoli. Later occupants include the mayor of Bordeaux, the Jesuits, a woman and her live-in lover, and the French government. The building now houses part of the art collection of wine magnate and art lover Bernard Magrez.

A brief biography sheet of Magrez in one of the rooms said that he was trained as a tree trimmer. (I suppose it's always good to have a second career to fall back on.) So I'll end with a picture of the garden taken from the second floor, showing some of the trees and intricate boxwood gardens:

gardens of Château Labottière

15 May 2014

News has discounted the audiobook version of my science fiction novelette "The Hunt" by 70%. It usually is $6.95, but now it is $1.99. I don't know how long it will be on sale. Here is the link:


I'm guestblogging today at Anne E. Johnson's blog, "Jester Harley's Manuscript Page." I talk about why I do so much research for my novels. You can find the post at


I'm in Bordeaux again, and I'm taking lots of pictures. When I have a chance, I'll put together some photo essays for the blog. In the meantime, I'm posting some pictures on my personal Facebook page ( and on my author Facebook page ( 


At left is a preview of the audiobook cover for Like Mayflies in a Stream. The audiobook is in production and will be released in early summer. 

By the way, Hadley Rille Books is discontinuing its hardcovers. If you were thinking of getting the hardcover version of Mayflies or any other HRB book, now is the time to order. When they run out, they're gone for goo.

27 March 2014


I'm interviewed today at Dawn's Reading Nook hereStop over there to find out what my guilty pleasure is, what song I'm currently listening to over and over again, where I prefer to write, and what I'm working on now. There's also an excerpt from my forthcoming historical romance novel, Claimed by the Enemy.

A cactus in my yard full of tunas and new leaves