THE KNAVE OF SOULS – Progress Update

SORRY FOR THE LONG GAP IN POSTINGS

I posted like mad over my November retreat, but stopped during winter break, and though I’be been writing since, I haven’t posted. I was in France for some of that. Here is a terrifying picture of my family and I at 13,000 feet in a glass box over an icy crag of the Alps. 

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SO! ENOUGH FOOLSHNESS! AN UPDATE! 

I’m sending Chapter 52 (The End) for peer crit this Saturday! Feels great, too. I’m pretty happy with it. PLUS, for those of you who agree with me that 2.5 years to write a book is too long, it’s coming in at about 160K words, which is 30K words more than the first book, so, hopefully that 20% more Harric, Caris, Sir Willard, Ambassador Brolli, and Father Kogan will make up for some of the wait.

Below, some of the crit notes from the Chapter 51 peer crit session. I love scribbles. I find beauty in these artifacts. Hope I don’t become a hoarder.

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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)

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.

🙂