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WIPjoy #3

Share a visual that goes with your WIP.

I’ve been trying to find photos of places that could pass as Faebourne, which is a gothic kind of mansion set in the wilds. I can find gothic mansions, and I can find wilds, but seldom both (without it looking like a horror novel). I’ll be relying on a good cover artist to meld the two.

I found this on Pinterest, so if you know the photographer and can give proper credit, please do let me know:

At the very least, the gates here give the impression of Duncan’s imprisonment, and there is a lot of greenery about. When Duncan first sees Faebourne he notes the way the trees encroach upon the house. Everything about Faebourne is wild and strange—the house, the grounds, and the people.

And if you’re excited about Faebourne please take a look at Brynnde, which you can read for FREE via Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited!

WIPjoy #2

Describe your main character for us.

Duncan Oliver is not the hero you picture on most romance covers. In fact, the first paragraph of Faebourne says it all:

Duncan Oliver was in every respect an unremarkable gentleman. He was not tall, though also not any shorter than would be deemed respectable. He was not rich, though again not particularly in want. And though he rode well, he was not especially keen on sports or gaming. To summarize, Duncan Oliver was the kind of man easily overlooked by the world. To this he had become accustomed and resigned.

Duncan has dark hair and eyes. He is handsome, but not in a chiseled way. I picture him with a somewhat pointed chin and delicate features. He’s expressive and has a dry wit, even as he tries to figure out a way to escape . . . Or not. His very uninteresting life has taken a decidedly interesting turn, and he’s not quite ready to go back to his tepid existence. But the thing about Faebourne is: once it takes hold of you, you might never leave.

WIPjoy #1

I’m a bit late starting this, but I’m going to be taking you through my WIP Faebourne, which is another Regency romance akin to Brynnde. In fact, this being the first WIPjoy post, let me introduce Faebourne properly.

This is the story of Duncan Oliver, a damoiseau in distress. (Well, he’s not French, but what exactly is the opposite of “damsel” or “damoiselle”?) He’s been abducted by the Milne brothers and taken to the Milne family estate of Faebourne. Duncan isn’t sure why he’s there, but there are plenty of strange stories about the Milnes to fuel his imagination. Some say the Milnes come from a line of fairy blood. Some say they’re simply crazy and it runs in the family.

Richard and Edward Milne have a lovely young sister named Adelia, rumored to be a changeling, and she may be the strangest of them all . . . Duncan finds himself torn between the desire to escape and the odd fascination he develops for Faebourne and its inhabitants . . .

Read Self-Published!

April is Read Self-Published Month, meant to encourage readers to try indie authors and self-published books. It can be so difficult to break into this business, which is an odd thing to say since it’s easier than ever to publish a book. The hard part comes in getting anyone to read those books!

That is where you, the reader, come in. We authors know you have a lot of options and there is a lot to sift through. How do you decide what to read? Do you browse a bookstore or library? Do you get recommendations from friends? Are you willing to try something you haven’t heard about yet, or an author you’ve never heard of? Do you base the decision on price or star ratings, or some combination of these things, or something else entirely? It’s so very helpful to us authors to know! So we appreciate you telling us! (Leave an answer in the comments.)

As for me, I was first published in magazines and literary journals, then ventured into self-publishing, then had a couple books picked up by small publishers. You can see my full writing history here. My latest book is again self-published, mostly because I’ve had greater success self-publishing than elsewise. Brynnde is a Regency romance and it’s getting great reviews, so I hope you’ll consider giving it a try (you can read it for FREE if you have Kindle Unlimited). If that’s not your thing, I also write mystery and fantasy. See all my books on my Amazon page.

And if you’re visiting this site as a self-published author yourself, go ahead and read my post on “winning” at publishing.

Thank you for stopping by as part of Read Self-Published Month! Be sure to keep checking the Facebook page for more books, authors, giveaways, etc.

IWSG: Too Much = Not Enough

It’s time again for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. Read and support writers by clicking here, and if you’re a writer you can also join!

I currently have three different writing projects in the works. Meanwhile, I’m also being slammed by one son’s baseball schedule and the other son’s physical therapy appointments as he learns to walk again after breaking his leg. I can hardly find two minutes to rub together, and when I do, I barely get warmed up before I have to get up and do something else. These days I’m lucky if I even get a paragraph written on any given day. I don’t know how I’ll ever finish writing any of my books!

Sorry for venting, but this is what I’m insecure about this month. Getting my writing done. Prioritizing my projects.

This month’s question: Have you taken advantage of the annual A to Z Challenge in terms of marketing, networking, publicity for your book? What were the results?

I’ve participated in A to Z twice. Once as an addendum to my Peter Stoller novellas (this was before The Fall and Rise of Peter Stoller was published by Tirgearr), and once as the start of a sequel to The K-Pro. I don’t know that I’d call these “marketing” though the goal was to create greater awareness for the source materials. It’s not clear to me whether it worked in terms of getting people to buy and/or read either St. Peter in Chains or The K-Pro, though I did get a lot of site traffic and a few people have asked whether that K-Pro sequel will ever get written. The answer is: maybe? It’s still on my list of potential projects.

By the way, did you know this is also Read Self-Published Month? Visit the Facebook group to find out more and find some great new reads! And don’t forget you can read Brynnde for FREE via Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited!


I’ve told this story before, but I like to do it again periodically for new readers.

My first publishing credits came from small magazines and literary journals. But after that I ran up against the wall of agents and publishers, and I eventually self-published. My goal wasn’t money or fame. I just wanted my work to be out there for people to read.

We’re told as writers that what we should want—that “winning” as an author—is an agent and big publisher. And if that doesn’t happen, as we teeter on the brink of depression and despair, a small publisher will do. Because the important thing, or so we’re taught, is that someone thinks we’re good enough to publish.

When I made the jump from self-published to being published by a couple small publishers, I thought I’d finally “won.” If not the jackpot (i.e., an agent and big publisher), then at least a scratch-off lotto ticket.

But here’s the thing, “winning” as an author is NOT about finding an agent or publisher. As it turns out, my initial instincts were right all along. The jackpot is having your book out there and finding readers. Readers are the jackpot. Not agents, not publishers.

This is nothing against my publishers. I’m so grateful to them for taking a chance on me, and nothing beats experience. I’m only saying that it doesn’t matter as much as we’re prompted to believe it does. What matters is whether readers will pick up your book and, well, read it.

Does having a publisher maximize this possibility? Maybe, maybe not. It might depend on the publisher. It definitely depends on the book.

All I’m really saying is that self-publish does not equal failure. You haven’t “lost” if you self-publish. How you get there matters less than actually getting there.

By the way, thank you SO MUCH for helping me reach my destination! Brynnde is now my most successful book since my Sherlock Holmes stories! If you haven’t read it already, I hope you’ll give it a try. You can read it for FREE via Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited.

Quarterly Check-In

The first quarter of 2017 is just about over. The writing goals I set for the year are below. Accomplished goals are in green.

  1. Publish Brynnde
  2. Finish and submit Changers: The Great Divide
  3. Finish Hamlette
  4. Write another Sherlock Holmes story

I published Brynnde on February 9, and it’s been doing pretty well. Big blog tour coming up for it starting April 17, too.

As for the other goals . . . Sigh. I do keep trying to get back on track with The Great Divide (Changers 2). I’m about halfway done with it, but life keeps throwing stuff at me and halting my progress. Perhaps this is my challenge, my lesson for the year: perseverance.

I brought the first chapter of Hamlette to my critique group a couple weeks ago, and they really liked it. That’s something at least.

And the finished recording for my Sherlock Holmes audiobook should be ready any day now, too. So maybe I won’t have a new story out just yet, but there will be an audio version of the existing ones!

Small steps.

I’ve also started work on another Regency novel titled Faebourne. Not sure yet which of these projects is going to take precedence if/when I get the time to really sit down and focus and write. I feel an obligation to finish Changers 2, but it’s like dragging a mule through deep mud at the moment. In other words, not fun and fairly exhausting. And while writing is my job, I also do best at it when I’m enjoying it. I think you can tell the difference between something written by an author who was feeling the work and one who wasn’t, and I don’t want my books to fall into the latter category.

So we’ll see. I’m really hoping to get Changers 2 done by the end of April, May at the latest. It’s taking me far too long to finish. But my heart may yet carry me in a different direction. And part of being a writer is to follow where the heart leads.

No Questions Asked

Here’s a question for you: Which authors’ books do you buy—preorder, even—without question? You’ll pick up their next book no matter what?

I have three at the moment.

1. Tana French

I love her Dublin Murder Squad series and click “preorder” without hesitation whenever a new one is announced.

2. Ben Aaronovitch

Yeah, the last couple Peter Grant novels were wobbly, but I’ll still read them.

3. Kate Morton

She has a definite formula, but I enjoy her books anyway.

I enjoy a lot of authors on a regular or semi-regular basis, but in most cases I’m still pretty selective. Like, I won’t read every Stephen King novel. And I fizzled out on Neil Gaiman. And I haven’t enjoyed the most recent stuff by Anne Rice.

So which authors inspire your loyalty and why? What is it about their work that you keep coming back to? Let me know in the comments!

P.S. Brynnde is still free, but today is the last day!

Author M Pepper Langlinais