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Cover Reveal for Michelle Hauck’s New Novel, STEADFAST

Thanks to the super-cool Michelle Hauck for letting me participate in the cover reveal for her new novel! 🙂


It all starts, of course, with getting hit with the writing bug. You have an idea for a story. You bravely sit down and write it. You learn that you don’t know how to write quite yet and you begin to gather experience plucked from other writers farther down the road. 

A manuscript or four later your craft has improved enough to land an agent. Your brilliant story goes out to the scary land of editors and may or may not sell. But you persist. You write other stories if the first one fails. And eventually you make your first sale for, say, three books.

Now you are faced with the scary fact that you need to write your first sequel and carry on a story line. You get the wonderful news that the characters you adore will live on. At the same time, you are full of anxiety that a sequel is a daunting thing and you’ve never tried one before. Bravely you forge forward and write a sequel that meets your editor’s approval. 

A new first appears now that you conquered the other challenge. You now have to write the ending book of a series. You have to take all the characters and all the obstacles you created and bring them to, not just an end, but a highly exciting end. Once again you doubt your talent and ability. You plunge forward nonetheless. And you succeed.

Cover reveals. Release days. Publishers Marketplace announcements. All those days are great days, but they are blips on the actual journey. The true test is the challenge you meet everyday to go out and do what scares you because you might fail– and see yourself instead succeed. 

So a cover reveal is not so much a celebration of art as it is a celebration of spirit. Another test passed. Another doubt proved groundless. A forging forward on the journey of you, whether you are a writer or something else. 

Proof I climb this mountain in the form of a third cover for my Birth of Saints series. Thank you for being a witness and may you climb your mountains. 

 Do what scares you my friends and face those challenges.  
Against an angry god whose only desire is to wipe out all life, what hope is there to survive?The army from the north has left a trail of burned and captured cities. In trying to stop them, Claire and Ramiro unleashed the northern god, Dal, but now they face two monstrosities and no amount of honor or hope can stop the killing as Dal grows in power.

Searching for a miracle, Claire finds the elders of the Women of the Song, who might teach her a thing or two about using her voice magic to fight back—if they can put aside their own problems first—while Ramiro searches for truth in his dreams, leading him to the northern priestess Santabe, the only one who could share her knowledge of Dal and the mysterious magical Diviners. 

Claire must unite the Women of the Song in the face of utter destruction, and Ramiro must decide how far he will go to get the answers he needs to defeat the rampaging god.


It will take nothing less than a saint to rise and face the leviathan before they all become martyrs. (unofficial blurb)

Steadfast releases December 5, 2017


Enter Giveaways to Win Signed Copies of Grudging and Faithful:


A world of chivalry and witchcraft…and the invaders who would destroy everything.

The North has invaded, bringing a cruel religion and no mercy. The ciudades-estados who have stood in their way have been razed to nothing, and now the horde is before the gates of Colina Hermosa…demanding blood.

On a mission of desperation, a small group escapes the besieged city in search of the one thing that might stem the tide of Northerners: the witches of the southern swamps.

The Women of the Song.

But when tragedy strikes their negotiations, all that is left is a single untried knight and a witch who has never given voice to her power. And time is running out.

A lyrical tale of honor and magic, Grudging is the opening salvo in the Book of Saints trilogy.




Following Grudging–and with a mix of Terry Goodkind and Bernard Cornwall–religion, witchcraft, and chivalry war in Faithful, the exciting next chapter in Michelle Hauck’s Birth of Saints series!

A world of Fear and death…and those trying to save it.

Colina Hermosa has burned to the ground. The Northern invaders continue their assault on the ciudades-estados. Terror has taken hold, and those that should be allies betray each other in hopes of their own survival. As the realities of this devastating and unprovoked war settles in, what can they do to fight back?

On a mission of hope, an unlikely group sets out to find a teacher for Claire, and a new weapon to use against the Northerners and their swelling army.

What they find instead is an old woman.

But she’s not a random crone—she’s Claire’s grandmother. She’s also a Woman of the Song, and her music is both strong and horrible. And while Claire has already seen the power of her own Song, she is scared of her inability to control it, having seen how her magic has brought evil to the world, killing without reason or remorse. To preserve a life of honor and light, Ramiro and Claire will need to convince the old woman to teach them a way so that the power of the Song can be used for good. Otherwise, they’ll just be destroyers themselves, no better than the Northerners and their false god, Dal. With the annihilation their enemy has planned, though, they may not have a choice.

A tale of fear and tragedy, hope and redemption, Faithful is the harrowing second entry in the Birth of Saints trilogy.




About the Author:

Michelle Hauck lives in the bustling metropolis of northern Indiana with her hubby and two college-going kids. Besides working with special needs children by day, she writes all sorts of fantasy, giving her imagination free range. She is a co-host of the yearly contests Query Kombat, Nightmare on Query Street, Picture Book Party, and Sun versus Snow. Her Birth of Saints trilogy, starting with Grudging (November 17, 2015) and Faithful (November 15, 2016) and Steadfast (December 2017)  is published by Harper Voyager. Another epic fantasy, Kindar’s Cure, is published by Divertir Publishing.

Find her on twitter at @Michelle4Laughs or at her blog.

Quick (yeah, sure) thoughts on round 1 of #QueryKombat 2017

I’m participating in #QueryKombat this year. If you’re not familiar, Query Kombat is an annual competition run by this writer and this writer and this writer, where you submit your query and the first 250 words of your novel. For the first round, 64 selected Kombatants are paired off to go one-on-one (shout out to O.C. Shaw, who is a friendly and gracious writer whose book I want in my life). Judges read your entries, offer constructive criticism, and declare a victor. Get enough votes and you move on to the Agent Round where literary agents review your entry and decide if they want to ask for more pages, and then round 2. Entries can be updated before the agents get to see it.
Continue reading “Quick (yeah, sure) thoughts on round 1 of #QueryKombat 2017”

A little editing example

Wow it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything! Let’s remedy that.

Ah, editing (or revising, if you prefer).

I was just reading something I wrote years ago, feeling nostalgic, wondering how bad my writing was back then compared to now. As I went along, I spotted a paragraph that could benefit from some obvious edits, and remembered I always wanted to write a post where I show how I pick apart my writing based on well-known writing rules (if such things exist).

So here we are.

Here’s the paragraph as I found it:

As we walked, it seemed to grow brighter and hotter by the minute. I took off my coat and slung it over my shoulder, letting the skin on my arms feel open air for the first time since the fall, then pulled my John Deer cap tightly down on my forehead to shield my eyes. As Jack and I talked about tractor maintenance, irrigation, and other farming matters, I became aware of the fact that he was guiding me back toward the road and away from his house.

I’m sure you seasoned writers/editors will spot the problems right away (probably more than I can, too) but the below is what I see:

As we walked, it seemed to grow brighter and hotter by the minute.’

The way I’m using ‘seemed’ is weak. It implies the speaker’s perception rather than making a definitive statement.

Edit

As we walked, it grew brighter and hotter by the minute.

‘I took off my coat and slung it over my shoulder, letting the skin on my arms feel open air for the first time since the fall, then pulled my John Deer cap tightly down on my forehead to shield my eyes.’

That’s a long-ass sentence right there. If I was going to keep it as is, I should use ‘and’ instead of then, but I think the sentence should be broken up.

Edit

I took off my coat and slung it over my shoulder, letting the skin on my arms feel open air for the first time since the fall. I pulled my John Deer cap tightly down on my forehead to shield my eyes.

‘I pulled my John Deer cap tightly down on my forehead to shield my eyes.’

Did the speaker pull the whole cap down? How could he pull the whole cap down on his forehead?

Edit

I pulled the bill of my John Deer cap tightly down to shield my eyes.

I could also have gone with ‘… my John Deer cap’s bill down…’, but that feels awkward on my tongue. That might just be me.

‘tightly’

This adverb (like most) is not needed. A strong verb would be better.

Edit

I yanked the bill of my John Deer cap down to shield my eyes.

‘the fact that’

There are a lot of problems with the last sentence, but ‘the fact that’ just screams at me. There’s almost never a reason to use it. It slows down the writing. If a character says it, it can be acceptable as part of their voice, but other than that it’s just not necessary. You might keep ‘that’, but that is often also unneeded.

Edit

As Jack and I talked about tractor maintenance, irrigation, and other farming matters, I became aware he was guiding me back toward the road and away from his house.

‘I became aware’

I don’t have a problem with ‘I became aware’ as a rule, but it feels clunky here.

Edit

As Jack and I talked about tractor maintenance, irrigation, and other farming matters, I realized he was guiding me back toward the road and away from his house.

‘back toward the road and away from his house’

Sometimes when something feels off, it may just be the order. I think that’s what’s happening here with ‘toward… and away’.

Edit

As Jack and I talked about tractor maintenance, irrigation, and other farming matters, I realized he was guiding me away from his house and back to the road.

If you’re thinking, “Hey Ron, do you really need both of those conditions? Jack can’t guide the MC toward the house and the road,” you’d be right! What you can’t know just from this snippet is there’s something going on at the house, so I have ‘away from the house’ in there to hint at that and set Jack’s intention (another reason to have ‘away’ first). If an editor told me to pull it, I’d be fine with that.

‘As Jack and I talked about tractor maintenance, irrigation, and other farming matters, I realized he was guiding me away from his house and back to the road.’

Finally (told you this sentence had big problems), I could break the sentence into two sentences to increase readability. This would be especially helpful if I left the previous sentence as bloody long as it was when I started.

Edit

Jack and I talked about tractor maintenance, irrigation, and other farming matters. I realized he was guiding me away from his house and back to the road.

So after all that, this is what I have:

As we walked, it grew brighter and hotter by the minute. I took off my coat and slung it over my shoulder, letting the skin on my arms feel open air for the first time since the fall. I yanked the bill of my John Deer cap down to shield my eyes. Jack and I talked about tractor maintenance, irrigation, and other farming matters. I realized he was guiding me away from his house and back to the road.

Not perfect, but better.

Final thoughts

editing/revising is critical, but you need to be careful not to overdo it. If you do, you run the risk of losing the voice. I may have done that here a smidge, but I think the trade off works. In the end, some will always find fault. Just do the best you can 🙂

 

Thanks for reading,

{RDj}