Blog Sharing – On Editing: You May Be Doing It Wrong

Guest post on Fight for Your Write today from TC Slonaker, a Martin Sisters Publishing author. TC offers her own story about publishing and how she discovered the importance of having an editor – even though she’s been an English teacher.

via On Editing: You May Be Doing It Wrong.

Blog Sharing: The Benefits of Small Press Publishing

David J. Kirk, dear friend and author of Particular Stones, stopped by Fight for Your Write today and said a few words about small press publishing. Go check it out and join the conversation!

via The Benefits of Small Press Publishing.

Blogger Book Fair: Welcome Back David Kirk!

Blogger Book Fair Features Something a Little Different with David Kirk

Dave is one of my favorite people in the world. In addition to being a fantastic author, he’s also been incredibly supportive and helpful – not to mention encouraging. His novel Particular Stones is one of the best books I read last year. Since he’s already answered my usual questions, I asked Dave to give us some insider information on his forthcoming novel Cornerstones. Because he’s a good guy, he said yes. First, let’s have a refresher on Dave and Particular Stones.

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About David J. Kirk

David, an honorable discharged veteran of the United States Navy, earned his master’s degree in personality psychology from Rhode Island College, Providence, Rhode Island, in 1980. He worked as a counselor and a Human Resources Manager. David then became an instructor at Rasmussen College where he taught psychology and sociology for four years.

An avid writer since 16 years old, he enjoyed elective college courses in creative writing, poetry, and drama. He has written over a dozen poems and the short stories “Stranger on the Beach” and “Blue Men.” After completing Particular Stones, he is currently finishing up his most recent novel, In the Big Flood. He also enjoys vegetable gardening, fishing, book discussion, geography, science, and philosophy. He lives with his wife in Indiana; they have two children.

About Particular Stones

Bothered by nightmares regarding his beginnings and trapped in an unacceptable situation, Dan joins the Eagles, a group of similar misfits whose only connection is their assignment to the same wing of their orphanage hall.  Together, the boys at first use brute force to defend themselves against a group of bullies harassing them and fellow orphans.  After a brief period of popularity for their bravery, opposing interests in the community plot to turn public opinion against them.  The Eagles soon realize their strategy is beginning to fail.  Facing incarceration and expulsion from school, they pull a strategic retreat into the wilderness where thing are seen more clearly.  Realizing a more rational plan, redemption begins to unfold.

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And Now for the (Other) Good Stuff

Dave is currently putting the finishing touches on his next novel, Cornerstones. I asked him for a sneak peek, and he said “Sure!” Instead of an excerpt, because the man does like his secrets, he sent a special message full of insight, just like the Dave himself. In his words:

I am the author of Particular Stones (Martin Sisters Publishing, 2011) and its sequel Cornerstones.  While the books have different plots, they are about the same things.  The stories take place in a futuristic, post-apocalyptic world, but readers may not be familiar with the type of apocalypse.  There are no flying cars, radiation diseased zombies, or death ray machines about.  The dystopia here is an exaggeration of what I feel is wrong with civilization today.

            I can almost summarize reviews with “This is a story about some orphan boys who band together to fight the bad guys.”  While this is basically true, they about so much more.  The Stones stories are about:

  • Family.  And what better way to explore the functions and rolls than with a group of young people without biological parents to show how these are formed.
  • Spirituality. We appear to be in two camps today:  faith and science.  Also, purists on each side claim that belief in one excludes belief in the other.  I attempt to show that both not only can work together but must.
  • Personal responsibility. Can we blame our shortcomings solely on genetics?
  • Champions. In regard to the latest Nobel Prize winner, Miss America, and Super Bowl champs, one of my characters put it best with “why do we celebrate a status that ninety nine percent of the population will never reach?”
  • Progress. I’m all for it, but what were we doing right before that for some reason we stopped doing?

I invite all types of readers to enjoy the Stones stories, but particularly those close readers.  I hope you will sit back and consider my different way of looking at things.


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(Photo by Nicole Ruby, used by permission, all rights reserved)

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Win Particular Stones

Dave is giving away Particular Stones on Goodreads. All you have to do is go sign up and keep your fingers crossed!

Blogger Book Fair: Welcome Kimberly Gould

Blogger Book Fair Continues with Kimberly Gould, Fellow Martin Sisters Publishing Author

I was lucky enough to be one of the first readers of Kimberly’s debut novel, Cargon: Honour & Privilege, a Young Adult dystopian novel unlike any other out there. Cargon, a game where social status is gambled away like pennies, is the central feature of the book, but the real star is her heroine. She’s just released the follow-up Cargon: Duty & Sacrifice, and I can’t wait to see what happens to Eve.

Kimberly gamely answered my usual questions, so take a moment to meet and greet, and then enjoy the excerpt.

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About Kimberly Gould

Oldest of three girls, raised in a small city surrounded by family, Kimberly was well acquainted with her imagination and started writing novellas in High School. She took a break while attending University, but returned to it soon after the birth of her daughter late in 2006. She has been married for 12 years, a mother for 5 and a published author for 1. She is looking forward to her future releases and new ideas.


As my husband always says, “What’s your book about?”

A servant turned princess who is enlightening a second age.

Was choosing to publish independently something you always wanted, or an option you hadn’t considered before?

I started out looking for an agent the traditional way. A writing friend suggested an indie publisher and they were my first yes.

Are you working on anything new at the moment?

I have an erotic penname and most of my WIP are part of her body. I am brewing a third Cargon book and have two other YA manuscripts in various states of completion.

Have you ever based a character on someone you know?

Not more than looks. George looks like my Dad, Adam looks like my cousin, things like that.

What color is your umbrella?


Who is your favorite character and why?

Bianca is probably my favourite character. She’s smart and fun at the same time. She’s a mother, but she doesn’t smother. She is a leader, but she’s willing to be proven wrong.

What was the last book you read?

A Memory of Light, the last Wheel of Time book.

Do you write about locations you’ve visited, or do you rely on research?  Or do you make up entire settings in your head?

I like making places up, part of the reason I write fantasy. Other than that, I usually write about places I’ve never visited, but that I imagine as ‘cities’ and therefore, at the core, similar to where I live. They all have neighbourhoods and shopping districts, a downtown. If I need particulars, Google maps is usually all I need.

After the last word is written, then what?  Do you have pre-readers and editors who take over?  Do you begin query letters immediately?

The first book, I didn’t have pre-reader, and when the edits came back with very small suggestions, I thought that was good. Upon rereading my first manuscript, however, I wish I’d gotten more people to read it. Now I have everything read AT LEAST twice before submitting. Usually I can find 3-5 people to pre-read. So far, almost everything comes back with superficial edits.

What song would be on the soundtrack for your book?

Something orchestral, with a good bit of winds to give it a haunting feeling, like you can see the ghosts of the fall waiting to be rediscovered.

Where can people find your book?

Martin Sisters Publishing has links to all the different formats, so it is easiest to go there. There is a link to Honour and Privilege on that page as well. Here is the link for Thickness of Blood (not YA).

Can we read a little excerpt?

Of course:

Her meeting with Vanto Albert was to discuss her plans to travel to Augustia and assist the neighbour with an internal conflict. Trade with Augustia had failed in recent months when the common class had risen up against their elite. The lapse in trade had disrupted Fontive although some goods were still coming through—only as much as the commoners allowed.  The Ambassadorial Vanto continued to encourage her to make the trip.

“Suggesting raising commoners to the elite should come from a person of high standing, a Vanto at the least. Also, I believe you will be perfectly equipped to deal with any questions regarding cross-class relations, don’t you?”

Eve had to chuckle at her uncle, Bianca’s brother in law. As the first and only servant to be raised to the elite, it did make sense to send Eve. “I expect I am,” she agreed. By playing and winning Cargon, the game ranking elite in Fontive, Eve had made the unprecedented shift.

“Well, let’s prepare you for it then.” Albert scratched at his short brown beard for a moment. “Eric is High One in Augustia, with his wife, Rosa, as second.” He presented her with a list of the highest elite and their portfolios, which they reviewed together.

“Ducat and Ducati are called Ambo and Amba in Augustia,” Albert explained. “Clarence,” Fontive’s Ducat of Augustia, “will of course answer to both, but you would confuse others there.”

Eve nodded, thinking she would most likely confuse herself. She should be able to mingle with the Vanto and Vinca, avoiding any misnomers. She read the list over again but was interrupted when Albert began discussing some of the differences between the cultures of the two kingdoms. “They do not rank themselves by Cargon.”

“What?” Her voice seemed to squeak in her own over-sensitive ears, making her cringe. Cargon was rule, it was law, it was…

“They pass rank through heredity, as we do when no one wagers,” Albert explained, placing a hand on her shoulder. She must seem very disturbed for him to touch her. Physical contact was strictly proscribed among the elite in Fontive.

Albert pulled his hand back, using the action for another example. “They are also less reserved about contact. You may see open displays of affection.” He said it with distaste, but Eve merely nodded. Although she had seen none since being raised, servants showed affection quite often. It wasn’t something that bothered her as it would one born into the elite.

“That isn’t a problem for me,” she explained. “Servants show affection when they aren’t on duty.”

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About Cargon: Duty & Sacrifice

In a post-apocalyptic world, Eve has discovered power of more than one nature. In Honour and Privilege, Eve became heir to the throne. In Duty and Sacrifice, she explores and defines the power of the elite. At the same time, electricity is being harnessed for the first time in centuries, providing the first glimpse into the ancient people who left the world as it exists. The horror of this revelation could shake their society as much or more than a servant becoming monarch.

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Blogger Book Fair: Welcome Allison Blanchard!

Introducing Fellow Martin Sisters Publishing Author Allison Blanchard for Blogger Book Fair

I’m so excited to introduce Allison Blanchard of Martin Sisters Publishing and her book, Forget Me Not. She’s been kind enough to answer my usual questions with her wit, and I know you’ll love meeting her. After answering my usual questions, some silly and some serious, Allison provided an excerpt from her book. Enjoy!

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About Allison Blanchard

Allison Blanchard is currently a student at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, Georgia where she is pursuing her bachelor degrees in English Creative Writing and French. She is an active sister in Sigma Alpha Omega where she continues to grow as a woman in Christ. She writes everyday, drinks too much coffee, and is looking forward to the next adventure her characters will take her.


As my husband always says, “What’s your book about?”

Forget Me Not is a unique love story that digs at the deeper questions of life & death, illusion & reality, with an interwoven thread of Native American culture and legends.

Do you remember the first thing you ever wrote?  Can you tell us about it?

I’m pretty sure it was a badly written poem when I was in middle school. Not the deepest and most meaningful piece of literary merit.

Do you prefer plaid or stripes?

Plaid, but damask is my FAVORITE pattern!

Was choosing to publish independently something you always wanted, or an option you hadn’t considered before?

It sort of just happened. I like the freedom my publisher gave me. It really felt like I was apart of a family, not just some client.

Are you working on anything new at the moment?

The project I am working on now is the second book in the Forget Me Not Trilogy, Morning Glory. It picks up where Forget Me Not left off. There are new characters, new twists and turns, but it is definitely a little darker than the first. SPOILER ALERT: There are some character deaths. It’s a pretty intense read.

Do you have any rituals before writing?  Music or silence?  Coffee or tea?  Twizzlers or M&Ms?

COFFEE! And some good music! My all time favorite bands are The Civil Wars and Paramore!

Have you ever based a character on someone you know?

Um, guilty. Usually, the person might not want to know who they inspired. It’s never usually good. But there are a few good characters in my current project who were inspired by some pretty awesome people I know.

What color is your umbrella?

It is black and white hounds tooth!

Who is your favorite author and why?

Marianne Curley! She inspired me to not only read more, but to become a writer. Her beautiful books got me through a really tough time in my life. I am forever grateful to her.

What was the last book you read?

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath.

Do you write about locations you’ve visited, or do you rely on research?  Or do you make up entire settings in your head?

I do a bit of both. For Forget Me Not, I had to do A LOT of research. I had never been to Great Falls, MT, but I was excited to write about a new place.

After the last word is written, then what?  Do you have pre-readers and editors who take over?  Do you begin query letters immediately?

Usually there is a victory dance which may or may not include crumping. I then go back and read through and edit like a crazy woman. Then there are my trusty pre-readers (Thanks Mom and Courtney!), then comes the query letter process. The dancing is my favorite part.

What song would be on the soundtrack for your book?

“Forget Me Not” and “I’ve Got This Friend,” both by The Civil Wars.

Where can people find your book?

Here are the links to buy my book!

Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK) | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | Paperback

Can we read a little excerpt?

Chapter One

I almost lost my breath when he walked through the door. Here, in the small town of Great Falls, Montana stood an angel in the front of my geometry class. His very presence gave the whitewashed room a certain glow. His skin was a dark, rusty copper. His onyx hair stopped at his neck, curled, and hung close to his face. I finally looked into his clear, blue eyes, but found them looking down to his feet. He was standing awkwardly at the front of the class, never meeting anyone’s eye as Mr. Holman read his note from the office. He was very tall, about 6’2”, with long legs that couldn’t seem to stay still as he swayed side to side.

Something about him caught my attention the moment he walked through the door. Like some magnetic pull. Nothing I could possibly explain, not even to myself. He looked strong, but seemed so unsure, nervous. But that wasn’t the only reason it took so much self-control to look away.

It couldn’t be that he was from the Indian reservation. Plenty of students had transferred from the reservation school. Although, most of them had transferred back for one reason or another. I never cared enough to take much notice.

I’ve never really taken much notice to any of the other students that attended my high school for that matter. That might be one of the reasons no one took any notice of me, either.

I was never the most social person in my grade. I didn’t see the point of befriending people when in two years we would lose all contact because we were thousands of miles away trying to figure out what we were going to do with our lives. It seemed kind of pointless.

I heard Mr. Holman mutter something about finding a seat. The beautiful boy kept silent and sat down quickly, avoiding eye contact with everyone.

The thought flew across my mind about trying to befriend him, showing him around the school. But the thought left as quickly as it came. There was no way I could show him, whoever he was, around. I barely had any confidence left to take myself to class. And that was thanks to Lily.

One of my first, and very few, friends was Lily Shelton. We had been best friends all the way through middle school. But when we started high school, Lily changed. Suddenly, boys and the desire to be accepted were more important than me, than our friendship. Ever since our friendship crumbled into oblivion, I have kept to myself. Out of both pride and self-preservation.

I glanced to my left, simply curious to see how he was holding up. He turned at the same moment and our eyes locked. I instantly looked away, completely mortified, keeping my eyes glued to either the board or my book. However, I could not shake the feeling that he was still staring.

Thankfully, the bell rang. I stood up, shoving my books into my bag. I began to leave the room when a deep, rustic voice stopped me.

“Excuse me, but can you tell me where I can find room 102?”

I looked over my shoulder, and time seemed to stand still.

“Uh, it’s down the hall,” I replied awkwardly, vaguely pointing out the door.

“I could show you! I know this school like the back of my hand!” Interrupted Sasha, her fire red hair framing her striking, magazine worthy face.

I saw the triumph in her eyes and cringed internally. There was no denying she was beautiful.

I decided to end my embarrassment and leave the room. Sasha would show the new boy around. I was sure he had already forgotten the small, average girl he had asked where to find his next class.

Once I made it to the hallway, I could finally take a deep breath and steady my pulse. I wasn’t sure why this particular boy was suddenly making me feel and act the way I was. The boy and this strange connection to him was unfamiliar territory. And being the coward I was, I was going to run from change. Not allow it to grow or continue to have any more influence on my life. So all I had to do was avoid him like the plague and life would hopefully return to normal. It wasn’t too hard to avoid people, especially when half the school didn’t even know your name. I was almost to my history room when I felt a warm hand grab my shoulder.Blogger Book Fair

About Forget Me Not

Cole Dyami is a mysterious boy with a dangerous secret. Adeline Jasely is a typical teenage girl. Living in the seemingly normal small town of Great Falls Montana, Adeline is confronted with everyday teenage problems by a not so normal beautiful boy. As Adeline and Cole’s worlds collide, the line between illusion and reality is blurred. According to a tribal legend, Adeline and Cole are no longer two friends, but two pieces in a complicated mystery. Suddenly, Adeline finds herself in a world she never knew existed. Along side Cole, she attempts to unravel the mysteries of the small Chippewa tribe in order to not only find out who Cole Dyami truly is, but who she is as well. As Cole and Adeline begin to uncover the secrets behind the legends of the Chippewa tribe, illusion slowly unravels into reality and friendship gradually melts into a mutual need of survival.

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