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Chapter 1 Now Available!

For those that are still following my posts here on wordpress, you need to visit my brand new website at http://www.MeganHaskell.com. My latest blog post has the link to chapter 1 of Sanyare: The Last Descendant! All new releases and updates will be provided over there, so make sure to switch!

If you have questions or concerns, feel free to email me at meganphaskell@gmail.com. I hope to see you there soon!

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New Website

Sanyare 360x540 (Website)

Sanyare: The Last Descendant, now available for preorder at Amazon.com!

 

For those of you who might be following me via wordpress only, I recently launched my new website at http://www.meganhaskell.com. Please migrate over there to sign up for my newsletter and continue receiving weekly blog posts. Thanks!

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Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!

Wishing you health and happiness during this holiday season!

Happy Holidays to all my readers!

I’ll be out of touch for the next couple of weeks, so I wanted to take this opportunity to wish you all the best during this holiday season.

I’ll be back in the New Year with big news, including the cover reveal for Sanyare: The Last Descendant, a brand new website, and even pre-order availability for the book! Stay tuned for the excitement ahead!!

 

 

 

 

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I’m a Signatory to the Ethical Author Code

The Alliance of Independent Authors Ethical Author Badge

I’m a signatory!

There’s a lot of talk online lately about the role of authors, and their behavior online, especially when it comes to responding to negative reviews. As a human being, I can’t imagine how these authors can look themselves in the mirror after some of the things they’ve done, like literally stalking a reader who wrote, “I think this book is awfully written and offensive; its execution in regards to all aspects is horrible and honestly, nonexistent.” Sure, it was mean, but everyone has a right to their opinion, and finding their home address with the intention of confronting them is absolutely unacceptable. Writing about it after the fact, as an example of “catfishing” and the misbehavior of online bullies, only makes it worse. The author was out of line. We are professionals, and need to act like it.

As my beta readers can attest, I take the good with the bad when it comes to criticism. Since the whole point with beta readers is to find out what works and what doesn’t within the story, before publication, I might ask questions and perhaps discuss their opinions if they’re open to it, but I don’t think I’ve ever become confrontational about their feedback, and certainly not in an open forum.

I haven’t yet published Sanyare: The Last Descendant, but I feel strongly about this issue. I will never respond to a review online, whether good or bad, because it’s not my place to be involved. Once it’s finished and out there for sale, the book is no longer mine. It’s the readers’. Work to find some true fans, and you won’t have to worry about the bullies. Let the fans come to the rescue.

Anyway, in response to all of this, the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) has put together a new Ethical Author Code to promote professional behavior amongst authors, both traditionally and independently published:

Ethical Author Code

Guiding principle: Putting the reader first

When I market my books, I put my readers first. This means that I don’t engage in any practices that have the effect of misleading the readers/buyers of my books. I behave professionally online and offline when it comes to the following practices in my writing life:

Courtesy

I behave with courtesy and respect toward readers, other authors, reviewers and industry professionals such as agents and publishers. If I find myself in disagreement, I focus on issues rather than airing grievances or complaints in the press or online, or engaging in personal attacks of any kind.

Aliases

I do not hide behind an alias to boost my own sales or damage the sales or reputation of another person. If I adopt a pen name for legitimate reasons, I use it consistently and carefully.

Reviewing and Rating books

I do not review or rate my own or another author’s books in any way that misleads or deceives the reader. I am transparent about my relationships with other authors when reviewing their books.

I am transparent about any reciprocal reviewing arrangements, and avoid any practices that result in the reader being deceived.

Reacting to reviews

I do not react to any book review by harassing the reviewer, getting a third party to harass the reviewer, or making any form of intrusive contact with the reviewer. If I’ve been the subject of a personal attack in a review, I respond in a way that is consistent with professional behaviour.

Book Promotions

I do not promote my books by making false statements about, for example, their position on bestseller lists, or consent to anyone else promoting them for me in a misleading manner.

Plagiarism

I know that plagiarism is a serious matter, and I don’t intentionally try to pass off another writer’s words as my own.

Financial ethics

In my business dealings as an author, I make every effort to be accurate and prompt with payments and financial calculations. If I make a financial error, I remedy it as soon as it’s brought to my notice.

Responsibility

I take responsibility for how my books are sold and marketed. If I realise anyone is acting against the spirit or letter of this Code on my behalf, I will refer them to this Code and ask them to modify their behaviour.

To me, this code just seems like common sense. So, although I’m not (yet) a member of ALLi, I’m voluntarily signing up to be a part of this movement. Independent publishing is a business, and I will be treating it that way.

Have you seen authors behaving badly? Do you think this code will help bring attention to the issue?

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Revised Title!

For the last few months, I’ve been concerned about the title of my work in progress. I was afraid it was too obscure, and hard to pronounce, that the title wouldn’t draw readers to read the description, let alone buy the book. Now that I’m getting serious about publishing, it became imperative that I make a decision, and soon. I’ve hired a cover designer to begin work on November 17th, and she needs the final information to start her design!

I had a few criteria for the title:

  1. Catchy – it has to be easy to remember and noteworthy
  2. Fairly unique – it doesn’t have to be the ONLY book with that title, but it should be the only fantasy novel
  3. Relevant – it needs to communicate some aspect of the book, as well as the genre
  4. Doesn’t give away the ending – I don’t want to reveal too much in the title alone
  5. Good to use in a series – it can be changed or modified to brand Rie’s trilogy and the overall series

After some good discussion with my beta readers and my husband (who’s a tough critic, in a good way!) I’ve finally made a decision.

<Cue drumroll>

Sanyare: The Last Descendant

It’s catchy and completely unique, no question there. It does give a hint at the plot, making it relevant, but with some minor tweaking of the story, I don’t think it reveals too much, too soon. It definitely has a fantasy feel, but it’s not over-the-top swords and sorcery. And it can be used in a series, either by continuing the trend (e.g. Sanyare: Origin’s Apprentice) or by using the word “Sanyare” in the series name (e.g. A Novel in the Universe of Sanyare).

I’ve put a lot of time and thought into this one tiny decision. Okay, really it’s not so tiny, because some titles can make or break a reader’s decision to buy, but it’s a small component of the larger publishing picture. In any case, I hope you like it!

Feel free to leave comments! Even constructive criticism is still useful!

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Favorite Lines from SANYARE: Chapters 11 – 15

Favorite Lines from SANYARE: Chapters 11 - 15

A literary amuse-bouche to whet your appetite!

Good news! SANYARE is off to beta readers and I’m working on my next project, a short story set in the world of SANYARE. It’s a mini-prequel, telling the origin story of how the pixies became Rie’s friends, and providing a glimpse into Rie’s life as a young woman, before she earned her spot in the messenger service.

My beta readers have until November 2nd to get me their feedback, then it’s back to editing before sending the manuscript off to a professional editor. There’s still a long way to go before it’s ready for public consumption. But, while you wait, here’s another little taste of SANYARE…my favorite lines from chapters 10 through 15!

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Daenor leapt and prowled, slicing high and low, the inferno following his form like a sparkler in the night.

~

“Anyone who doesn’t want to die, should turn around and walk away,” Daenor announced, his voice carrying over the throng.  Not a single redcap twitched.

“Apparently, you’re not scary enough,” Rie quipped, unsheathing her blades.

Daenor cocked one eyebrow.  “Maybe you should go first, in your fancy new clothes.”

Rie turned her lips down in a mock frown.  “And here I thought you were a gentleman.  Chivalry must really be dead if a prince lets his lady lead.”

“My lady’s going to have to be more than a damsel in distress.  Think you can keep up?”

Rie grinned.  “Watch me.”

~

After a few steps, Turant’s movement smoothed into a rolling gait and Rie could once again breathe.  The scent of woodsmoke and sweet ash — Daenor’s scent — filled her lungs as she pressed the side of her face between his shoulders.  With each breath, Rie relaxed a little more, until the sharp edges of pain dulled to insignificance.

~

A burst of flame lit Braegan’s eyebrows, singing the hair to a crumbling mess.  Braegan clasped his hands over his eyes and leaned back until he almost fell out of his chair.  “What the hell was that for?”

Rie glanced at Daenor.  His own eyebrows were angled low over fiery red eyes.  “Say that again, and the rest of your head will catch fire, too.  In fact, if you ever even think about treating Rie like a blood slave, you can kiss your pretty little face goodbye.”

~

After a night spent tossing and turning in the plush confines of the room at the inn, Rie woke with a niggling worm of dread buried in the depths of her belly.

~

The woman at the front desk, a goblin with three chins and four eyes, greeted them without looking up from her desk.  “Incoming or outgoing,” was all she said, her voice filled with broken glass and sandpaper.

~

The goblins were the most eye-catching of the lot, with their physical deformities displayed for all to see.  One woman in particular was only half-clothed, wearing a floor-length yellow skirt and baring her six breasts to the world.  When she caught Rie staring, she wiggled her shoulders from side to side, making the sagging nipples wobble.

~

Secretly nicknamed The Squirrel by the messenger service, Rolimdornoron had the face of the rodent from which he got his nickname.  In fact, he was one of the few High Elves Rie would categorize as ugly.  Or at least funny-looking.  Wide set eyes, a short, up-turned nose, and thin lips would be enough, but add to that big ears and prominent front teeth, and you had a face that was comically unforgettable.

~

Rie let her mind wander free, taking in everything, filtering nothing, until she could place every rustle of fabric, breath of air, and shift of weight in the room.

~

What do you think? Which is your favorite?

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Writing: 90% Procrastination, 10% Panic

Queen of Someday Blog Tour

Now Available! Queen of Someday, by bestselling author Sherry D. Ficklin

Today I am thrilled to host Sherry D. Ficklin, bestselling author of EXTRACTED.

Sherry D. Ficklin is a full-time writer from Colorado where she lives with her husband, four kids, two dogs, and a fluctuating number of chickens and house guests. A former military brat, she loves to travel and meet new people. She can often be found browsing her local bookstore with a large white hot chocolate in one hand and a towering stack of books in the other. That is, unless she’s on deadline at which time she, like the Loch Ness monster, is only seen in blurry photographs.

She is the author of The Gods of Fate Trilogy now available from Dragonfly Publishing. Her previously self-published novel After Burn: Military Brats has been acquired by Harlequin and will be released in 2015 with a second book in that series to follow. Her newest YA steampunk novel, EXTRACTED: The Lost Imperials book 1, co-written with Tyler H. Jolley is now available everywhere books are sold and her newest YA novel, Losing Logan, is due for release in 2014 from Clean Teen Publishing.

I’ve been stalking following Sherry for a few years now, ever since I read Book 1 of The Gods of Fate Trilogy. Sherry is one of the few YA authors that I can honestly (and happily) say, “Everything I’ve read, I’ve loved.” Especially Extracted

Sherry has been kind enough to answer my questions over the years, and I am so happy she was willing to give us a post on her writing process. And, as an added bonus, check out the excerpt of her latest release, Queen Of Someday, at the bottom of the page!

Welcome Sherry!

*****

They say writing is 90% procrastination 10% panic. I think that’s probably true. For me it’s a cycle that begins with a fantastic idea. It’s shiny and beautiful and totally genius. I love it. It’s my pressssious.

Then I outline, the amount of which depends on the story I’m telling. Contemporary novels get the basics; character bibles, basic plot, and twisty bits I want to add in. For something like a time travel novel, I dig in with timelines, historical research, and things like that.

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Then the writing begins. For the first maybe 10 chapters, it’s like being in a new relationship. Everything is gold. Until suddenly, it’s not. Suddenly, you just walked in on your book sitting on the toilet and the romance is gone faster than pot at a Dave Matthews concert. That’s when you sit back, remember to eat and bathe and start filling your writing hours with playing on pinterest or updating your Tinder profile. ANYTHING not to be writing.

At this point — and it will happen to you all at some point — the best thing you can do is ride the wave of distraction. Put the book away, stop looking at it. For a week AT MOST. Fill that week with adventures, with relaxation. Take a yoga class, or do what I do and eat Oreos in your yoga pants while watching Firefly reruns.

Then, after a week of not thinking about it, open it up with fresh eyes. Read it as a reader. Rekindle the magic. It’s like reliving your first date with your spouse. It helps you remember what you liked so much about it to begin with.

Then you keep writing.

Now if you are like me, this love hate process can happen several times during the writing of one book. To help I set myself hard deadlines, if not for a publisher, than for a beta reader, some person external to me that will hold me accountable if I don’t finish in my window. Because starting a book is easy, but finishing one is hard. That hard deadline gives me that 10% panic that I need to kick myself in gear sometimes. Do you know why they call it a deadline? Because if you miss it, your editor gets to kill you.

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That is my super helpful professional advice. It probably won’t help, because at the end of the day, what works for one person might not work for another and the only way to learn what works for YOU is to just do it. So you, yes you, go write your book!

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 *****

Just Released! Queen of Someday, by Sherry D. Ficklin

NOW AVAILABLE! Queen of Someday, by Sherry D. Ficklin

NOW AVAILABLE! Queen of Someday, by Sherry D. Ficklin

Before she can become Catherine The Great, fifteen-year-old Sophie will have to survive her social-climbing mother’s quest to put her on the throne of Russia—at any cost.

Imperial Court holds dangers like nothing Sophie has ever faced before. In the heart of St. Petersburg, surviving means navigating the political, romantic, and religious demands of the bitter Empress Elizabeth and her handsome, but sadistic nephew, Peter. Determined to save her impoverished family—and herself—Sophie vows to do whatever is necessary to thrive in her new surroundings. But an attempt on her life and an unexpected attraction threatens to derail her plans.

Alone in a new and dangerous world, learning who to trust and who to charm may mean the difference between becoming queen and being sent home in shame to marry her lecherous uncle. With traitors and murderers lurking around every corner, her very life hangs in the balance. Betrothed to one man but falling in love with another, Sophie will need to decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice in order to become the empress she is destined to be. In a battle for the soul of a nation, will love or destiny reign supreme?

READ ON FOR THE EXCERPT!!

“If I could, I would offer you my heart, my soul, and make that be enough. But I know it is not. I know that Peter is your destiny. You are going to be the most beautiful, clever, kind empress Russia has ever seen. And I want to be there for that. But I can’t think about that now because today, in this moment, all I want is you. The thought of losing you cuts me to my very marrow.”

I look away, even as he draws me closer. The war rages inside me, one part wanting nothing more than to kiss him until the sun rises, another part knowing why I can’t.

He tilts my chin up gently.

“If you want to send me away, tell me only that you do not love me, and I will go. I will never speak your name again, never touch your hand. I will pretend that the loss of you hasn’t killed me.”

I sigh, my hard-fought resolve fading quickly.

“I could never say those words, because they would be the gravest lie. Of course I love you. I love you so much that I risk everything just to come to you tonight. If anyone knew—I would be ruined, sent away in a cloud of scorn. No one would ever have me, and I would bear the shame all my days.”

He takes my face in his hands.

“I would have you, in shame or sin, I would have you in any way I could, in any way you could give yourself to me.”

He kisses me again, and I know I’ve lost. Reaching up, I wrap my arms around his neck, holding him to me. He smiles against my lips.

“My sweet Helen, for you I would be Paris, and for your love, I would defy God himself and then return to you for a kiss.”

“Peter and the empress will return in a few days. What will we do? Meeting like this… it’s too dangerous,” I say, unwilling to pull away again.

“Do you trust me?” he asks solemnly.

I nod. “I do.”

“And do you love me?”

“With all my heart and my life, I do.”

He kisses my hair.

“Then trust me. Give me a few days and by the time they return, I will have a plan. In the meantime, if you need me—”

“I always need you,” I interrupt.

He grins.

“If you want to meet me…” I open my mouth to interrupt again, but he puts a finger against my lips, which I kiss. “Leave me a message in a book. John Wilmont’s letters to his mistress.”

I frown. “Am I to be your secret mistress?”

He shakes his head. “No, my love. I will be yours.”