This is the week to get WRITERS OF THE FUTURE for Summer Reading!

THIS IS THE BEST WEEK TO BUY Writers of the Future!

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If you’ve been waiting to get yours, this is the week that helps us most — our Bestseller Week.” 
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(Little-known fact: Bestseller lists measure velocity of sales over one week, Sun-Sat. So this is our week to urge sales that fund next year’s contest and maybe give it Bestseller status.)
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So, please buy before Sunday! At any book store or online:
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( * PLUS, YOU CAN HELP A TON BY SHARING THIS POST!  * )
Thanks again for your support!

Win a free eBook of THE JACK OF SOULS!

eBook-Slot-Machine GIVEAWAY!

Click the image for a chance to win an ebook copy of The Jack of Souls on Amazon!

eBook Slot Machine blue

Give it a whirl, and share this link with friends! Good luck!

 

THE JACK OF SOULS is up for preorder on Audible!

The audiobook for The Jack of Souls is up for preorder on Audible, and it’s freaking fantastic!  I am so pleased!

Here’s an audio file of the opening pages. The actor, Alex Wyndham, went with an English accent—probably because of the lofty material, 😉 –and he rocks it! Turns out he’s a great character actor.

JOS - Audiobook

Even in the first minute I love what he did with the barman. II can’t wait to hear how he did Caris and Willard and Brolli and Bannus’s voices.

I shall have to subject my kids to it on the road trip to the mountains this weekend. Mwa-hahaha!

 

Leper Life

Leper Party Sleigh

Leper Party Sleigh

You might think lepers had it rough in the old days.

But you would be wrong. If you were a leper, most of the time you were forbidden to enter the city, but once a year they put you in a wooden sled and dragged it through the city.

Leper Party Sled

You got to hold out a plate for donations and they gave you these wooden party clappers to make noise with!

Good times.

My First Book Group Invite was a Blast

In January, the Ashworth Avenue Book Group picked The Jack of Souls for their next novel and asked if I’d come to their meetup to chat with them. Last night we met at my good friend Jeanne’s home, and I had a blast with them–some not even fantasy readers!–talking about the book, the characters, the process of writing.

They had a lot of fun questions, tangents, ideas, comments, wine, pizza, quiche, wine.

Thanks, Ashworth Book Group!  I had a great time. 🙂

(L>R) Mary, Pegge, Heidi, Alex, Denise, Shannon, Alice, Barb. (Front-Me and Jeanne)

(L>R) Mary, Pegge, Heidi, Alex, Denise, Shannon, Alice, Barb. (Front-Me and Jeanne)

A Fun Interview with Hack Sketches

Image for Question 1 I’ve done a few interviews in the last month, and when I got to about interview 3 I though, “Dang, these are pretty long interviews. Maybe I should spice them up with some with sketches from inside my brain.”

So I did! And it was fun.

Click the image above to see the interview. : )

Reading at Eagle Harbor Books Tomorrow

ehbHi all!

If you find yourself making a sunny day trip tomorrow on Bainbridge Island, I’ll be reading from The Jack of Souls and talking fantasy at Eagle Harbor Book Co, in lovely Winslow. Drop in! It’s walkable from the ferry!

Punch and pie.

Midwest Book Review Reads THE JACK OF SOULS!

Click here to see the review on MBR.

Click here to see the review on MBR.

Months ago I sent two paperbacks, a cover letter, and a press release to Midwest Book Review, in hope that they would review The Jack of Souls. They get around 50 submissions a day, for 1500/month, and since they are non-profit, they don’t have time to reply to everyone; basically, if they don’t like what your wrote, you don’t hear from them. So I really had my fingers crossed for this one.

Who is Midwest Book Review?

MBR is probably the biggest non-profit small press reviewer that accepts indie books. It has a wide professional readership including book stores and librarians.

Unfamiliar Sender

Today, while at a gas station in Winthrop, Washington (the first reliable cell reception on our week in the North Cascades), I saw an unfamiliar email in my inbox: MWREVW@aol.com.

Huh?

It took a few seconds to recognize it. When I did, my breath stopped.

HOLY. CRAP.

Good News Comes from Unfamiliar Senders

“Dear Mr. Merlino:
I’m very pleased to announce that the April 2015 issue of our online book review magazine “Small Press Bookwatch” features a review of The Jack of Souls.
The Jack of Souls
Stephen C. Merlino
Tortoise Rampant Press
www.stephenmerlino.com
9780986267413, $12.95 PB, 350pp, www.amazon.com
 
Critique: The first volume in Stephen Merlino’s ‘The Unseen Moon’ series, “The Jack of Souls” is a terrific read from beginning to end and clearly establishes Merlino as a master of the fantasy action/adventure genre. Highly recommended for community library Science Fiction & Fantasy collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that “The Jack of Souls” is also available in a hardcover edition (9780986267406, $29.99) and a Kindle edition ($3.99).
I look forward to your next new title.
 
James A. Cox
Editor-in-Chief
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI, 53575

Holy crap. Holy crap. Holy crap. Holy crap. Holy crap. Holy crap. Holy crap. 

They liked it!

I know I’m not supposed to care. That I’m supposed to write no matter what anyone says good or bad. And I will. But seriously, I am so thrilled and stunned and so grateful for this review. It is so nice to see my stories aren’t just sung into a void–that sometimes someone actually shouts back, Hey, that’s pretty good! and the solitary act of writing becomes for a moment a dialogue between like-minded people. 

Thanks for shouting back, MBR.

🙂

 

Kickstarter Before & After Photos

I have officially sent off all 100+ mailers to 17 different countries and as many states! Here is what our dining room table looked like at the height of mailing frenzy in December. Now it’s online and Amazon does the shipping! (Whew!)

Here’s what it looks like now. We can use our table for dinner again!  🙂 🙂 🙂

Short Story Award

I just learned that my short story, “Outside the Game,” won first place in the Southwest Writers International Writing Competition!  SWW-Contest-Header

Many thanks to David Levine and Fairwood Writers, who helped me develop it.

“Outside the Game” is an alternative first chapter to The Jack of Souls, set in the same place the novel begins, but an hour before the events that start the novel.

I wrote it as a tool to gain attention for the novel (and because Harric is so much fun to write about!).

Here’s the link, if you want to check it out:

http://www.southwestwriters.com/contest/sww-annual-international-writing-contest/

THE JACK OF SOULS won first place in the PNWA Competition!

A week ago last night, I learned that my fantasy novel, The Jack of Souls, won the Pacific Northwest Writers Association’s unpublished novel competition for the Science Fiction/Fantasy category. I’m just getting over the shock, so I feel I can post it. PNWA-logo

The announcement ran after they cleared plates from the awards dinner at the conference. Before announcing winners, they announced the names of all eight finalists and their novels, ala Oscars format.

It took a long time. Cruelly, they served no wine at the tables.

As they listed each finalist and the title of their novel, I imagined a door of probability slowly closing. Six years ago I submitted to the contest and didn’t even make the finalists, so now with each finalist name, it seemed the door closed a little more. When they announced the second place winner, only a crack of light remained, so it was extremely surreal when they announced my name next and I saw The Jack of Souls on the screen.

I rose and accepted the award and sat again. I know this because I found myself at the dinner table with the same people I’d eaten with, the award folder in my hands.

Here’s the link to the results of all the category winners for the competition:

http://www.pnwa.org/?page=2014contestwinners

An agent/editor party followed, where I met some fun and interesting people including the agent who judged the contest. Good things in the offing!