Lillim Updates

For those of you wondering what is going on with the Lillim series, I thought I’d give you a bit of an update since I’ve been focused on the Cursed Series as of late. (I’m about 20% of the way through writing book 4 btw).

Basically, I’ve been in upgrade mode. I want to get all my ducks in a row before I add a new volume. It’s not that I think the books are bad, but I feel like as a writer I’ve definitely evolved over the course of 18 novels. Lillim is my favorite series and I’d like to have my new skills reflected in that series as well.

I re-edited Hatter back in August, adding about 5,000 words to the book, but I never really did more than that with the series. Now that’s going to change.

Firstly, I’ve completely re-edited Fairy Tale, and the new version is live as of last week. I added almost 6k words to the book, and I feel like it’s much better. I hope the changes prove enjoyable. If you have the old version, you can get the new one by emailing Amazon support and asking them to change it for you. I know of no other way to do it, unfortunately.

I’m also in the process of re-editing Kill It With Magic. I love the hell out of that book, but at the same time I know it comes off as confusing and the pacing is a touch fast. Hopefully, I’ll be able to resolve both of those issues.

I’m also in the process of getting a new set of covers for the series. I really like the cover for Kill it with magic, but I feel like new covers would be well, nice to have. I dunno, it’s sort of a personal thing for me.

Anyway, that’s what has been getting in the way of the new Lillim books. I just wanted to let you guys know in case you thought I’d abandoned the series. That’s definitely not the case. There will, at the very least, be a book 7 and a prequel 2.

I also plan on finishing the Dirge book this year, so it’ll be close. That one might move to January. Time will tell.

Burned – Chapter 1

Look what I just got back from the proofreader. Enjoy!

**

Chapter 1

The helicopter behind me exploded, throwing me forward into Danton, the demon hunter who had just saved my life before I could even open my mouth to thank him. I smashed into him, and we both toppled to the ground. His body cushioned my fall as we smacked into the hard asphalt with enough force for my brain to rattle around inside my skull.

Zombies came pouring out of the helicopter Danton had blasted out of the sky moments earlier. While the creatures weren’t shooting at us with their belt fed Browning M2 machineguns anymore, they were still coming for us. Evidently, zombies don’t give up even when you blow them up and light them on fire.

I scrambled to my feet and reached for my gun as the walking corpses lumbered toward us. Panic exploded in my lizard brain as I realized I didn’t have my gun anymore. Fuck. What was I going to do?

Danton still hadn’t managed to climb to his feet. Instead, he lay flat on his back staring glassily at the night sky while blood dripped from a nasty looking cut above his right eye. Ricky, the female werewolf I’d just jumped out of a plane to save, looked even worse. She had a huge piece of metal sticking out of her chest, pinning her to the ground like a macabre butterfly.

He eyes were shut in pain as she gripped the bloody chunk of steel and tried to wrench it free with her bare hands. The sight of it sliding out of her torso inch by inch filled me with revulsion and anger. The need to look away so I wouldn’t throw up was drowned out with the sudden need to tear the zombies limb from fucking limb. Hurting Ricky was not allowed.

My heart pounded against the inside of my ribcage as I took a step toward her, desperate to help her. Intellectually, I knew she wouldn’t die from an injury like that. Once she got the metal out of her body, her innate werewolf healing ability would stitch her back together in seconds, but that might not be quick enough if the zombies reached us first. No, I had to buy her some time to recover.

The scent of their rotting flesh washed over me, pungent even over the acrid smoke rising from the burning helicopter. My stomach twisted as nausea threatened to overcome me. I pushed it down as best as I could and stepped in front of Ricky and Danton. I had to protect them, had to buy them enough time to recover.

I held out my demonic, black as night arm. Blasting zombies with concentrated hellfire hadn’t been super effective last time, especially when compared to putting a bullet in their brains, but unless a gun was going to fall in my lap, I wasn’t sure what else to do with the zombies barely ten feet away. If they got much closer, we were going to be screwed.

Unfortunately, since I’d used most of my power to keep from dying after jumping out of an airplane a few minutes ago. If I’d had more time and a decent meal, I’d have recovered enough to do some serious damage, but as it stood now, there wasn’t a lot of magic left inside me. Hopefully, it would be enough to give Ricky and Danton time to get back on their feet and help me.

A zombie crossed the distance between us and lunged at me before I could gather enough magic to blast it in its stupid face. Its jaws snapped dangerously close to my ear as I stepped past its clumsy lunge and buried my elbow into the side of its temple. The creature’s skull cracked as it wobbled sideways, dazed but not really worse for wear. There were two more only a couple feet behind it with a third a meter behind them. I didn’t have long before they turned me into an all you can eat buffet.

“I’m warning you!” I screamed, spinning on my heel and driving my left foot into the wobbling zombie’s right knee. “I’m not afraid to sweep the leg!”

An audible snap filled the air as the creature crumpled to the ground. As it swiped at me, I stepped out of its reach and backed up a couple steps to create distance between me and the two closest zombies. I sucked in a deep breath that tasted like death and decay while calling upon the remaining magic inside me. Something popped behind my eyes, and the world went hazy around the edges. There was even less power inside me than I’d thought. Not good.

“No!” I cried in frustration and pulled even harder at the last gasps of power in my spiritual gas tank. The crimson tattoos running the length of my right arm lit up like the red light district at midnight as the last two zombies hurled themselves at me, jaws opened wide.

My right fist crashed into the left one’s nose. Its skull exploded into a fine mist as I followed through with the movement. The zombie dropped to the ground lifeless, which yes, was somewhat ironic.

Unfortunately, its partner caught my arm with one preternaturally strong hand and pulled me toward it. My feet went out from under me as my shoulder crashed into the creature’s chest. Undeterred by my flailing, its teeth snapped onto my shoulder and gnawed at the tough leather of my trench coat, but thankfully, were unable to find purchase. I had no idea what would happen if one bit me, but I was pretty sure I didn’t want to find out.

The heat from the flaming zombie licked at my flesh as it pulled me hungrily into its gnashing jaws. The pain awakened some dark, primal need to survive. Somehow, I got my feet under me and pushed with everything I had. We toppled backward onto the cement, and the zombie’s skull struck the pavement with a sickening crack, moments before the full weight of my shoulder came down into its mouth. Its jaw shattered under my weight, but that didn’t stop it from scratching at me with rotten, decayed fingers.

The one I’d knocked down earlier was getting closer, dragging itself toward me, while the fourth was hopping toward me because it was missing its leg. If they got me on the ground, I was as good as dead. Especially since they were both on fire. Even if they didn’t eat me, the flames leaping from their bodies would be more than enough to do me in.

“Ignis!” I screamed, blasting the struggling zombie beneath me with a handful of Hellfire. The zombie’s head exploded like a sausage in the microwave, but I didn’t have time to relish its death because spots were dancing across my vision. If I used much more power, I was going to pass out, and that wouldn’t help anyone.

The two remaining one-legged zombies came at me from both sides. The glow from my tattoos was fading, resembling little more than the last glowing embers of a hearth. I forced myself to my feet while thanking my lucky stars I hadn’t caught on fire. Not that it would matter if I didn’t take out the last two before I collapsed. I needed to move this along.

“I guess I missed the one about the one-legged zombie in the ass kicking contest,” I said, calling upon more Hellfire. My vision tunneled down the center, and I had to step back to see them both through the blackness encroaching upon my line of sight.

“What about the one where the pissed off werewolf takes off their heads with the piece of helicopter blade she pulled from her chest?” Ricky cried, stepping into my frame of vision and driving the chunk of metal that had been lodged in her torso into the back of the broken-legged zombie’s skull. It stopped moving as she jerked the metal free of its cranium and flung it at the hopping zombie in one fluid motion.

The jagged hunk caught the hopping zombie in the forehead with so much force, it didn’t kill the creature so much as it obliterated it. She turned to me as the headless zombie slumped forward onto the ground. They were all dead. Maybe this time, they’d stay that way.

“You’re hurt,” she said, giving me a once over. “We’ll have to get those burns looked at fast, or they could get infected. I don’t know about you, but the last thing I’d want is my horrible flesh wounds getting contaminated by zombie gunk.” She stuck out her tongue and made an “ick” face. I glanced down at myself and instantly agreed. My exposed skin had turned a nasty shade of blistered, and the zombie gunk clinging to me didn’t seem like the world’s best substitute for burn cream.

“Always thinking about me,” I said, looking her up and down.” The wound on her chest had vanished. In fact, barring the horrendous rip in her slutty, blood-soaked pink Princess Jasmine costume, I’d have doubted she’d gotten hurt at all. “But I’ll be fine. Besides, I’ve got shit to do.”

“Too bad, my concern comes with the territory,” she said, stepping close to me and putting her hands on my hips to keep me from swaying. “Maybe Danton has a first aid kit or something.”

“Thanks,” I said, shrugging out of my trench coat. I might not be able to walk without assistance or see past my blurry vision, but I’d be damned if I was going to let her walk around wearing the costume Pierce had put on her when he’d tried to turn her into a sex puppet. I kissed her on the forehead and wrapped the coat around her shoulders. “How’s Danton?”

“I’m okay,” the demon hunter said. He was sitting on the ground where he’d fallen. Blood dripped down his face and pooled on his chin. Crimson spatters dotted his white shirt, but he didn’t seem bothered by it. “Just let me sit here for a minute.”

“Yeah, I could do with some sitting down,” I replied, turning toward him. I must have miss-stepped because the next thing I knew I was falling. Only Ricky’s hands on my hips kept me from eating a mouthful of pavement. That was no good. I didn’t have time to collapse into a boneless heap. I had to find Todd, the backstabbing demon, and rescue my family.

“You know you’re missing a shoe, right?” Danton asked as Ricky steadied me.

I looked at him for another moment before swinging my head down to stare at my feet. He was right. I was only wearing one shoe. I’d lost one when I’d jumped out of a perfectly good plane a few thousand feet in the air. Losing the work boot had seemed inconsequential at the time, especially because afterward I’d been chased by a helicopter full of machinegun-toting zombies, but now it seemed like it might be a problem.

For reasons unknown, Danton had knocked the helicopter out of the sky with a bolt of lightning and saved us. I wasn’t sure how he’d done it, but as I stared at the demon hunter, a tingle of dread rippled down my skin.

Danton may have saved me, but I was sure the reason why wouldn’t be all puppies and sunshine. After all, he was a notorious demon hunter who had told me, in no uncertain terms, he was going to kill me. So why had he saved my life when he should have let the zombie-filled helicopter shoot me to ribbons? I needed to find out why.

Yes, we’re doing it again!

Since we had so much fun with the last giveaway, we decided to do it again!

10 New York Times, USA Today, and International Bestselling Authors have teamed up to bring you another SPECTACULAR prize — a Kindle Fire loaded with 10 bestselling New Adult and Urban Fantasy ebooks! Even better, this contest doesn’t just have one winner, but SIX! One person wins the kindle, and an additional five people will be given all ten of the ebooks in this giveaway. PLUS you can earn unlimited extra entries! Scroll down to learn more about the prizes, or click here to enter:

New Adult and Urban Fantasy Giveaway

The Prizes: One Kindle Fire…

kindle_fire_feature_three

Plus these TEN New Adult and Urban Fantasy Bestselling eBooks!

(Click on any cover image to learn more about the book)

Burned by Magic COF Cover

The Heretic Front Cover 2014 Cursed2

TheForeverGirl hunted_full

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000446_00062] DarkGame-Final

MagicBorn ishtar_ebook

Remember, there are SIX chances to win, plus you can earn unlimited entries. So what are you waiting for? Click here to enter the giveaway.

Cursed and Marked coming to audio!

So, I have a bit of interesting information for everyone out there in the blogosphere. Recently, I was approached by Tantor, a division of Recorded Books, about the audio rights to Cursed and Marked. After some back and forth, we were able to strike a deal I’m pretty happy with, mostly because it brings you Cursed and Marked in audio format.

I don’t have many details yet on when they will be out, but it should be within the next six months or so. James Patrick Cronin doing the narration, and I’m excited to hear his take on Mac Brennan.

If that’s something that interests you, stay tuned for further updates. If not, well, Burned is now 75% of the way complete. So if you’re in the advanced team, you’ll have it in your hands soon.

I’m really excited for this one because I finally do the big reveal I’ve been saving for book one. I hope you guys think it’s as cool as I do.

Editing

A couple people have emailed me now about editing in general, so I thought I’d doctor an email I sent to someone into a post because I think it makes an awesome post. So, yeah, if you’re not a writer or have no interest in editing, I’d skip this post. It’s okay, it won’t hurt my feelings. You know, unless you tell me.

The first thing is to remember that there are 4 types of editing (and honestly copy and line are really very similar) and you need to know which one you are getting, for simplicity’s sake, I’ll paste them below.

1. Substantive/big-picture/developmental editing: This focuses on the pacing of your story, your story arc, and your character arc. The developmental editor reads the story and makes comments as a whole about ways to tighten your work. She’ll make suggestions to help people connect with your characters, make your plot twists and ending more climactic and help your hero be less of a zero.

2. Line-editing. Line-editors go through and cleans up inconsistencies in your sentences, tighten the language, and generally nitpick awkward sentences. She’ll also point out when you write something that means something other than your thought it did, or that might convey two different meanings.

3. Copy-editing. This stage is more focused on errors within your own story. Did Jan start out as a fifteen year old girl and morph into a twenty-seven year old English professor? Did the main character’s house miraculously change from blue with white trim to orange with yellow trim? Did your main character fire fifteen rounds from a gun that only carries six shots? Many copy editors will have their areas of specialty. Some might know everything there is to know about World War II, but won’t have a clue about the latest fashions in Paris, France.

4. Proofreading. Proofreaders read your manuscript very closely. They are focused on finding typos and grammar mistakes. They may point out awkward sentences or other errors, but aren’t focused on this.

Now that you know about the four types of editing, we can move on to the important part. Selecting an editor.

When I submit to an editor, I usually know which type of editing I want them to do and will say so. This is roughly what I expect:
An edited sample of my work, usually about 2000 words edited for free. This is for us both to decide if we even want to bother. This may not matter for you. It is important to note that some editors charge for this.

I will expect a cost quote and expected turnaround time as well as the confirmation of editing I will be receiving. If your editor is a decent person, she may tell you to work on your manuscript more before sending it to her. This is often a red flag that your manuscript is not ready for editing. It pays to give your manuscript some more love and attention before sending it out as this will save you a lot of time and money.

I will expect her to tell me when she is available to take the work. (This is usually the deal breaker for me.)

I will expect her to look over certain things (within reason) and answer questions after the edit is complete.

I want them to use MS word track changes.

Most of these things can and should be discussed beforehand. After all, your editor is running a business and you are a client. Some communication around how the setup will work is a must to avoid disagreements that could have been sorted out before both of your extended time and effort.

As to me personally? I do not pay a significant amount for developmental editing anymore. It is not very different from beta reading assuming you have a skilled beta reader/ critique partner and have been at this for a while. I fully believe there is a point where most writers who have written and practiced enough can put out a story that won’t lead to massive revision. In my case, my first draft and my last draft do not change significantly. This was not the case with my earlier novels, but seventeen novels later it is.

That said, some developmental editors are very good and can greatly reduce your floundering time, especially when you are just starting. Paying a good one might be expensive, but will definitely be helpful.

I’ll list some people I, or people I know, have used just as a way of sharing costs and giving recommendations.

As far as beta reading going, Maia Sepp is very good at this (uber beta reading) and charges roughly $0.002 per word for her services which is a steal. I’ve worked with a couple other beta readers that charge $1 per 1,000 words and some that charge $1.50 per 1,000 words. It takes about a week to do one of my MS for Maia. The others were about the same. http://www.maiasepp.com/mincedwords.html

My current editor, Laura Kingsley combines developmental editing with line editing for $0.004 per word. I almost always get this package and forego the beta. Turn around for my 60k MS is about 2 days per pass. https://laurakingsley.wordpress.com/

My proofreader, Donna Rich only does proofreading. She’s worked on many very well selling books. Her rate is $50 per 30k words. it’s a little annoying because 61k is $150 and 60k is $100 but it is what it is. Turn around is 1 day for my MS. She doesn’t have a website but her email is Donnarich@me.com

Courtney Umphress is an editor I know many people who have used for Copy editing, but her copy editing seems similar to line editing as I’ve described it. She charges $0.006 per word, but I’m told she works with people too, so it may wind up being a little lower. She also offers proofreading at $0.003 per word. Turn around time for a typical 75k MS is 1 week.  http://www.courtneyumphress.com/

Tammi Labrecque is one of the editors used by Chris Fox who wrote the bestselling Deathless series. She charges $0.01 per word for copy editing and $0.005 for proofreading and is highly recommended. http://larksandkatydids.com/editing/

Martha Hayes is an amazing editor. She does Mark Dawson’s books as well as many others. She is almost always booked a couple months out. I inquired in July 2015, and she was booking November 2015. She does line, copy, and dev editing in a single pass for $0.009 per word. She will do a second pass for $0.0045 per word. She doesn’t have a website but her email is dedicatededitor@gmail.com

Anne Victory is considered by many to be the gold standard for editing. She offers a full bracket of services and works with all the stars. She starts at $0.02 per word for editing. It’s a little crazy. http://victoryediting.com/

Todd Barselow was the editor I used for the first three lillim books. (Kiwm, hatter, Fairy Tale). He has worked on many best selling books including some by Anne Rice’s son Christopher. He is the type of guy that can guess your whole story from a few paragraphs so he doesn’t get lost in the same way a normal reader would. He is easy to work with and your MS will come back with every nook and cranny caught. He offers proofreading, dev, and copy in one single pass. He charges between $4.00 and $7.00 based on the quality of the MS. Turn around time for a typical 75k MS is 1 month.  http://www.toddedits.com/

Eliza Dee is an editor that has worked on a lot of books that do very well. I know she worked on several of Wayne Stinnet’s bestselling thriller books. She has a range of services (copy, proof, dev) and pricing that moves accordingly. $0.006–$0.03 depending on what you get. http://clioediting.com/services/

Mary Novak is an editor I’m not super familiar with, but I know she is used by Jasmine Walt who writes the Burned by Magic series. She offers a full range of packages and often works with people. http://www.msnovakedits.com/

**

Now, while I recognize that an editor has to work, I would look for an editor who has worked on stuff that sells well. For a new author who may not have a lot of money to spend, I’d be hesitant to pay more than $0.005 per word unless she had recommendations from someone awesome. (And I don’t mean one of the fly by night lightning in a bottle writers either, someone with a proven track record) I say this because while editing might kill your book, especially if your craft is suffering, no one will read your book if it doesn’t have an awesome cover. If you can afford both, groovy, if not, go with cover.

Personally, I think my current editor undercharges. She worked on both Cursed and Marked.

As a caveat, I have been told by several very well selling authors that one of their biggest mistakes early on was using an editor who specialized in say magazine and news articles as it’s totally different.

I have no idea if I’ve helped anyone at all, but feel free to ask me specific questions.