COVER REVEAL: An Improbable Truth: The Paranormal Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

internal screamingWhy yes!  It’s finally here!  After months of planning, reading stories, and basically driving all my loved ones insane, I can finally reveal the cover for the Sherlock anthology!  It’s such an honor for me, as a Sherlock Holmes fangirl but also because I had the chance to work with one of my favorite people, Anne Rosario.  Anne is the stupidly talented artist who rendered this beautiful cover.  More importantly she put up with me and all my harebrained ideas to come up with something that’s unique and absolutely fits the tone of the book.


Coming October 27, 2015!!!

“When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

Sherlock Holmes is one of the most recognizable characters in Western literature.  Conan Doyle’s inimitable detective has been the subject of literally thousands of books, movies, television shows, plays and even songs.  With the rise of the BBC series and the release of all copyrights, the beloved character has found a new life among modern audiences.

In An Improbable Truth: The Paranormal Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, 14 authors of horror and mystery have come together to create a unique anthology that sets Holmes on some of his most terrifying adventures.  A pair of sisters willing to sacrifice young girls to an ancient demon for a taste of success, a sinister device that can manipulate time itself, and a madman that can raise corpses from the dead are just a few among the grisly tales that can be found within these pages.

Curl up with a warm cuppa and leave all the lights on.  This is not your grandfather’s Sherlock Holmes.


Look at this list of stories!  Doesn’t it sound fantastic??!!

The Fairy Pool by Lucy Blue

Sherlock Holmes and the Hungry Ghost by Katie Magnusson

The Diamond Carter Ghost by Matthew Wilson

The Haunted Branch Line by Tally Johnson

The Arendall Horror by Thomas Olbert

Worlds Collide by S. H. Roddey

Time is Running Out, Watson by Adrian Cross

A Voice in the Blood by Dan Shaurette

The Hunt of the Red Boar by Thomas Fortenberry

The Canaries of Clee Hills Mine by Robert Perret

The Chase by Melissa McArthur

The Adventure of the Missing Trophy by Mark W. Coulter

The Case of the Rising Dead by Trenton Mabey

The Adventure of the Slow Death by Harding McFadden

I know, I know… I’m stalling.  It’s called BUILDING THE SUSPENSE.  But now, without further ado…

SHA_final

COMING 10.27.15

What I’ve Learned About Editing

me and amy (2)OMG… can it be that The Belle herself is posting on the blog today?  Why yes!  Your eyes don’t deceive you.  It’s really me this time.  I figured that I should share my genius with you since it’s been a while (tongue placed firmly in cheek).  The truth is, I’ve been really busy the last few weeks.  I know it doesn’t seem like it, but I really have.  I’ve got two new releases with Little Red Hen Romance this month and I literally finished the edits on one of those stories the day before release.  I’ve also been knee-deep in the edits for the Sherlock Holmes anthology, An Improbable Truth: The Paranormal Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, which will be hitting eBook shelves on October 27, 2015.  And speaking of editing, that’s the purpose of my article today.

I’ve been a part of several anthologies as an author but An Improbable Truth is the first time that I’ve been on the other side of the editorial desk.  Yes, my evil alter-ego, A.C. Thompson is the editor of this collection.  And lemme tell you, kittens– it’s been a learning experience.  It’s had its ups and downs but I like to think the process has been pretty smooth for all those involved.  But now that I have something to compare it to, here are some things that I’ve learned.

  1. Have a schedule in place.  This is actually good advice for most endeavors, but it’s really essential if you’re going to take responsibility of other people’s work.  Before the call ever goes out, you should have a clear timeline in your head of not just when the release date is but other important things like:  when will the submission window close, when will everyone’s stories be accepted or rejected, how are you going to let them know, when do contracts go out, when do you project having your first round of edits done, your authors turn in those edits by what date, when is the deadline for cover art, etc.  Now these dates don’t need to be set in stone, but you should have some idea.  No one should be floundering at the last minute.
  2. Be a professional.  Let me say that again.  *In her best Christian Bale voice* BE A FUCKING PROFESSIONAL.  Ahem, that felt good.  Anyway, remember kittens– this is not the church bake sale.  This is someone’s hard work that you’re screwing around with here.  These people are not donating their work to your cause, they’re giving you something for publication that they will hopefully make a little money from.  That means that you cannot keep their work indefinitely in limbo never telling them whether their story got in or not or never sending them a contract.  Authors should NOT find out that their story wasn’t accepted by reading the release announcement. Nor should you keep them on a mailing list that constantly says “just because you’re getting this doesn’t mean you’re in the anthology, just fyi.”  It’s rude, it’s confusing, and it keeps an author’s story on the hook for ages when they could be submitting it to someone that might accept it. Rejections are the most un-fun part of the process, but they’re just as necessary as the acceptances.
  3. Don’t become an editor if you don’t have any credentials other than you’ve read a book before.  I decided to pitch the idea of An Improbable Truth because I’m a huge Sherlock Holmes fan, the copyrights had been released, and there weren’t any other paranormal/ horror Sherlock anthologies out there.  Before I made the decision to pitch to my wonderful publisher, Nicole Kurtz, I thought about whether or not I was equipped to edit someone else’s work.  So here it is:  I graduated from Winthrop University with a degree in Education.  Part of that program required that I complete college level work in writing and grammar.  Up to this point I’ve published two novels a slew of short stories and novellas, and a magazine article with several reputable presses.  I’ve written five novels.  I have also been through a hard edit with a professional “big 5” author and editor.  Do I think I know it all?  Hell no!  I have called on the help of my sister who has a Master’s Degree in English as well as other editors many times.  Trust me, commas are not my friends. But if you don’t have a grasp of language in your own writing, you probably shouldn’t be an editor.  Sadly, this is an epidemic in the self-pubbing/ indie world.  We scream that we want to be taken seriously, but kids– big time publishing is never going to take us seriously until we hold our authors to the same standard as they do.  And that means good writing and professional editing.
  4. I am your editor, not your mama!!  Therefore, it is not my job to teach you to write or completely re-write your first draft.  I actually overheard an author tell someone, “It doesn’t matter if I can write.  That’s what the editor is for.”  WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!! It is your job as the writer to write a great story, polish it up (DO NOT SEND YOUR FIRST DRAFT), and edit– not write a ten page dissertation on why the editor is wrong and you’re right.  The editor is an unbiased third party whose only interest is in making your story the best it can be.  Don’t fight them every step of the way.  If you disagree with something, discuss it.  Don’t stomp your feet like a toddler and refuse to change it.  Or make up some silly excuse as to WHY you can’t edit.  It is worth noting that I did NOT have this problem on the Sherlock anthology.  Every single author I have is the picture of professionalism and talent.  I may be slightly biased, but seriously… these guys and gals rock!
  5. Have a plan for promotion.  This is particularly for the editors of anthologies.  Now you might say, “That’s not my division.”  Well Lestrade, yes it is.  If you’re editing an anthology for a small press it IS your division.  Finding as many places to get the word out about your authors and your book is part of your job description.  You don’t just send these things out into the world and expect them to swim on their own!  You have to be creative.  Think outside the box.  While you’re sitting here reading this ridiculously long diatribe, five anthologies just hit the shelves.  You have to make your book stand out.  Why should people buy YOUR anthology and not the other one.  And don’t worry, you aren’t alone.  Your publisher and all those lovely people who contributed to the anthology are there to help you.  They should have a plan for what they’re going to do as well.  And you’ll, hopefully, all succeed together.

So that’s it. That’s what I’ve learned so far and trust me– it’s a process.  I don’t know it all and probably never will.  And of course, these are all just my opinions.  We’ll see if they work at all in a few weeks.

Once Upon a Time: An Interview with C. L. McCollum

CLICK ME to buy!

CLICK ME to buy!

I’m so excited about my guest on The Belle today.  Author and editor C. L. McCollum is going to be talking about her newest endeavor:  Once Upon a Time, A Cliches for a Cause Anthology to benefit RAINN.

Introduce yourself and tell us a little about why you’re visiting the blog today. 

Hiya! I’m Caitlan aka C.L. McCollum (@C_L_McCollum on Twitter), and I am one of the co-editors and authors for the Clichés for a Cause anthology series. The newest book in the series, ONCE UPON A TIME, was just released on June 19th, and Lexxx has been gracious enough to offer to interview me about the book!

As far as me, I’m a 30-something Texas girl currently living in Austin. I’m a fan of SFF and most of my work tends to fall into that genre with occasional dabbling into magical realism. I also am most comfortable writing in the YA and NA categories. Those age groups just seem to be where my writing fits best.

 

 What is the “Clichés for a Cause” project?

The Clichés for a Cause project is a series of anthologies sponsored by Herding Cats Press with the proceeds from each book in the series going to a different charity. The first book was the brainchild of Mitchell Lehnert, another member of our writing group, but it’s since grown into a full series. There are only two books so far, but we hope to continue to add installments as time goes on.

 

 How did Herding Cats Creative Writing become involved with RAINN (Rape Abuse and Incest National Network) and why did you choose this particular charity?

We aren’t directly involved/affiliated with www.rainn.org – it was chosen simply because it’s a charity that is close to our hearts. Of the contributors, there are more than one of us who have personally experienced abuse or have family and loved ones who have. I personally hadn’t known RAINN existed during the abusive relationship I was in several years ago, but knowing that there was an organization to help people find their way out of those situations would have been a huge aid at the time. Now, I like to hope that our contributing of the proceeds of this anthology, no matter how much those proceeds actually end up being, might help RAINN to keep providing that aid to those who need it.

 

 Tell us a little about your process as editor of a large anthology like this.

We actually had four editors working together on this anthology: myself and August Clearwing as lead editors, and two associate editors, Gerald Sallier and Elaine Titus who helped with the content/copyediting tasks. We actually had several group sessions where we all signed into the same google doc and all four of us could confer/add comments/point out sections of the story we had questions about. It definitely helped to have four sets of eyes on each story; it made me a lot more confident that we didn’t miss major issues/errors since each of us had completely different grammar/content things that we were really good at catching. We also did several rounds of editing, focusing first on content and then on copyedits, which I think worked well for us. It was still a learning experience, though, so hopefully we’ll be even more thorough and efficient with the next book in the series.

 

 What can readers expect from Once Upon a Time?    

ONCE UPON A TIME contains 15 illustrated re-told fairy tales from 29 different authors and artists. The only rule we gave our authors was that their story must start with the words “Once upon a time…” Beyond that, they could go wild. We have everything from steampunk to sci-fi to contemporary to epic fantasy to satire, and the illustrations from our artists are just as diverse. I really can’t pick a favorite story or image frankly (though admittedly I’m partial to the illustrations for my stories LOL).

 

 Once Upon a Time is a follow up to last year’s It Was a Dark and Stormy Night.  What did you learn about producing an anthology from that experience?

What didn’t we learn from IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT? LOL We’re all incredibly proud of the fact that we got it put together and finished, but there were quite a few hiccups and mistakes along the way. We also definitely got overwhelmed with the sheer amount of things we needed to accomplish. I feel like we had a much better idea of the overall work that goes into putting an anthology together with ONCE UPON A TIME. Even little things like having group editing days planned and scheduled before the actual story due date were a huge help to our sanity.

We learned things from this anthology, too, honestly. I don’t think we’re ever going to have an anthology where we don’t look back and think “OK we could have done that thing better – let’s make a note for the next one.”

 Art seems to be a big part of these anthologies.  Beautiful, original illustrations are featured with each story.  How did you go about bringing together such great visual artists to participate in this project?

Honestly most of it was long-term networking that ended up having amazing side effects. A couple of the artists from DARK & STORMY were friends I’d known for years either in real life or online. When the time came to put together a pool of artists for ONCE UPON A TIME, one of those original artists, Angela Sasser (www.angelasasser.com), asked if she could mention the anthology to a small Facebook group she was part of. We said sure, and the next thing I knew, I had 12 emails in like 15 minutes. I heard over and over again that everyone was 1) a fan of fairy tales and 2) thrilled to get to be involved with a project earning money for RAINN.

It was incredibly humbling to have that kind of support from strangers just rolling in that way. The authors were all at least known to one or more of the Herding Cats folks so no one was a complete unknown, but most of the artists were people I’d never worked or talked with before. With several of them, I’d seen their art before and was a fan, but I wouldn’t have felt comfortable approaching them regarding the anthology. So having Angela step in was just a huge part of how incredible the anthology turned out. She wasn’t able to contribute art to this book which we were all bummed about, but I can’t wait to get to collaborate with her on the next book. So yeah, so, so much thanks to her for that!

 

 Once Upon a Time is available right now!  Tell us where we can get it!!

The physical copy of the anthology is currently available on Amazon here:  http://www.amazon.com/Once-Upon-Time-Charity-Anthology/dp/1514326493/  The eBook will be released within the next week. For more information about Book I: IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT or upcoming anthologies in the Clichés for a Cause series, please visit www.herdcatspress.com or our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/HerdingCatsPress. Herding Cats Press is also on Twitter: @herdcatspress

Throbbing Thursday: Eden Glenn

The fabulous Eden Glenn!

Hello, my erstwhile readers!  I’ve been under the weather this week, so I haven’t been in touch too much lately.  But I did manage to pull myself together to welcome yet another wonder in the romance world.  This week’s guest is Eden Glenn.  Eden is one of the contributing authors in the Rebel Ink Press anthology, Once Upon a Twisted Tale.  This week she’ll be giving us a little taste of her twisted tale, “The Galloping Ghoul of Hockomock Swamp.”  I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.  I can’t WAIT to get these twisted tales on my Nook…

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Hello. Thank you for the opportunity to blog with your readers today.  I thought it would be fun to drop by for a cup of chai tea and chat a little about an upcoming release from Rebel Ink Press. I am so excited to be part of A group of authors who came together for this fun anthology “Once Upon A Twisted Tale”

Escape to a world of make believe where all your grown up fantasies can now be realized.  Where Neverland means never denying yourself the most intimate, wicked treats and where what you wear to the ball isn’t nearly as important as what you don’t. Experience a tantalizing set of stories where fairy tales take on an unexpected twist and journey to a place where real love isn’t defined in terms of a cookie cutter princess. After all, happily-ever-after isn’t the staple of a charmed life…

When the call went out I knew I wanted to be part of this collection. I am finding many readers want short novellettes to pick up and finish in an evening.  Life is so fast paced and they want completion in one sitting for their reading enjoyment.

Ideas started coming together for the story. My partner R.M. Kinore (anthology story: “The Emperor’s New Clothes: No More Hiding”) helped me find a setting that gave me that tingly feeling and “The Galloping Ghoul of Hockomock Swamp” was born.

The Galloping Ghoul rides each full moon, exacting revenge by frightening those who tormented his past. By day, he is one of the town people, Nathaniel Hawkins, an affluent entrepreneur. He identifies with Ike Sandhill, a government surveyor, and wants to protect him from the same thugs who drove Nathaniel to revenge. Ike goes to the extreme to prove to everyone how straight laced he is. He pursues Misty VonMix with the intention of marriage. Nathaniel doesn’t know how to confess his desire without driving Ike away. He comes up with a plan of seduction. Before the night is over Ike discovers things about himself he always knew, yet denied.

 “Massachusetts, 1790

Somewhere in the Bridgewater Triangle, old wives tell tales in hushed tones about strange lights in the sky and the Galloping Ghoul of Hockomock Swamp. They say the specter rides on the night of the full moon. They don’t know what drives him to haunt unsuspecting travelers. Those who’ve crossed his path flee in fear for their lives. If the victims know why he rides, they never say.”

Eden Glenn writes paranormal erotic romance. She lives in the mountains of Chattanooga, Tennessee with her partner and four of their  five children, two cats, one ghost (that they know of) and a dog.

“Prepare to leave your safe world behind. Come with me to places where things aren’t always what they seem and destiny is the master.”

Find her on Facebook, Twitter and over at her blog www.edenglenn.wordpress.com.

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Wow… Sounds like a perfect way to spend an evening– curled up with some twisted fairy tales.  Happy reading, folks!