BarbHendee.org

News, commentary, and fiction by Barb Hendee, co-author of the Noble Dead saga (www.NobleDead.org); author of the Mist-Torn Witches series, the Vampire Memories series, and more.

The Sleeping Curse

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Yesterday, JC put up formal announcements about the release of the new Jan and Julianna novella, "The Sleeping Curse. I'm really excited about this story. It's a lot of fun, with traveling gypsies, witches, curses, and a bit of romance.

When JC first showed me the cover he'd made, my jaw dropped.  It's perfect.  I am so lucky that I have him to make our covers.

The final story in the adventures and romance of Jan and Julianna will be out in August, called "Silent Bells."  That one is a bit more emotionally wrenching.  Any of these stories can be read independently, but the order of the saga is:

  1. The Keepers
  2. The Reluctant Guardian (About Aunt Bieja, but Jan and Julianna play a part)
  3. Captives
  4. Claws
  5. The Sleeping Curse
  6. Silent Bells (to be released in August)

For links to vendors, just go here, Tales, and click on a title on the right hand side of the page.

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NOW AVAILABLE: The Sleeping Curse (“Homeward'” Collection)

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HW8Details and purchase points are now available for this new release in T·N·D·S: Tales from the world of the Noble Dead Saga.

THE SLEEPING CURSE
sequel to Claws
Barb Hendee

$2.99 USD
Short Story, 16k+ words
eISBN: 1230000148920
ASIN: B00DTJJSKC
BNID: 2940148310310

For more information please visit the “Tales” page at NobleDead.org. While you are there, have a look at previous “Tales” releases in the “Homeward” and other collections. Though set in the world of the Noble Dead Saga, all “tales” and their collections do not require knowledge of any books or series written by Barb & J.C. Hendee. You can easily pick up and read one as your first venture into this world. And so…

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The Jan and Julianna Series

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JC is currently going through my draft of "The Sleeping Curse," which is the next novella in the Jan and Julianna series--the sequel to "Claws" . . . which is the sequel to "Captives."

   
 Tales from the World of the Noble Dead

I'll be curious to see what kind of feedback JC gives me on "The Sleeping Curse."  As part of our process, while I'm revising the story (based on his notes), he'll go to work on the cover, and when I'm done revising, I'll hire a proofreader.  I think hiring a final proofreader is important for anyone doing self publishing.

But we should have "The Sleeping Curse" up for purchase in July.
 
On Thursday, I finished drafting the final story/novella in the Jan and Julianna series, called "Silent Bells."  The last one was emotional, and I felt kind of wrung out after I finished.  We'll probably let this one cool off, and we'll get it up in August.

I didn't expect to get so attached to these characters. I've always viewed myself more as a novelist, and I've never worked much at the novella length until these past two years.  But . . . having completed the draft of the final Jan and Julianna story, I almost feel like I've finished a novel.



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Vendor Update for TNDS (Tales)

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HW6_Tales_Logo_128

At this time, we are sad to announce that we will not release any further additions in T·N·D·S: Tales from the world of the Noble Dead Saga through Apple / iBookStore.

NOTE: This does not affect any of our novels produced by Roc / Penguin-Putnam. The ebook editions of our novels are control and distributed by our publisher, not us.

If you purchased past or current “tales” through Apple / iBookStore / iTunes, you will still have them forever; Apple will see to this. Currently released titles at Apple / iBookstore will also remain available for purchase until sales have flatlined for 60 days or 2 calendar months, whichever comes first. As to why this decision was made…

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A Milestone

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Yesterday was my 50th birthday.  Yikes.

JC took me to a lovely place for dinner.  This was Victorian style home years ago, and someone bought it, hired a chef, and set up a restaurant that serves French cuisine. Yummy.

The main entrance is through the back, so JC and I each shot a picture of each other on the stairs.   We had an incredible dinner and a fun evening.


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NOW AVAILABLE: Puppy Love

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One more release for this month, and it marks the opening of a new collection in T·N·D·S: Tales from the world of the Noble Dead Saga.

J.C. Hendee 
“Sagecraft” Collection
$2.99 USD
Novella, 50k+ words
ASIN: B00D7P7KIU
English Only; Kindle Only.

For further details, please visit the “Tales” page at NobleDead.org. While you are there, have a look at previous “Tales” in the other collections. And now to answer the obvious question…

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The Jan and Julianna series

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Okay, yesterday I finished the first draft of the next novella in the adventures and romance of Jan and Julianna, tentatively titled "The Sleeping Curse."

JC hasn't read it yet, and he sometimes likes to play with titles.

This is a fun story, and we should have it up in July among the other Tales

Again, if you want to read their story, this is the order:

1) The Keepers
2) The Reluctant Guardian (Note: This is actually Aunt Beija's story, but the plight of Jan and Julianna play a part).
3) Captives
4) Claws

And . . . we should have "The Sleeping Curse" available in July. 

You can just click on the link in this post for "Tales," and it will take you to a page with titles and links for purchase.

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The Story of Jan and Julianna

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When JC and I first began tossing around the idea for the Tales from the World of the Noble Dead Saga, I was thinking mainly of filling in some gaps of curiosity on the part of our readers.

So . . . I started off with Loni (the lone elf in Miiska), as he had been a source of questions from our readers over the years.  I moved to filling in some "holes" in the Rashed/Teesha story and then onto Ratboy.

I soon realized that creating something new but based in the core of the world might even more interesting.

When I wrote "The Keepers," I found myself really, really enjoying writing for Jan.  He's a fun, fascinating, unpredictable soul.  In that piece, I ended up including a teenaged orphan girl named Julianna, and something about her grabbed my interest as well.

The next story, "The Reluctant Guardian" is about Aunt Beija's harrowing journey to Miiska, but I included a scene with Julianna in the beginning.  This piece is set a little over four years after "The Keepers," and Julianna is now a young woman.  She relates to Beija that Jan has been conscripted and taken away from his home--and she is wondering how to help him.

Around this point . . . I knew that Jan and Julianna had an important story that was waiting to be written, and I wondered if I could do a serial of stories to tell their tale.  So, as soon as I finished "The Reluctant Guardian," I sat down and began to consider the adventures and romance of Jan and Julianna.

I wrote "Captives" next, picking up right where "The Reluctant Guardian" left off with their plight.

Then I wrote the novella "Claws," in which they travel off together with the gypsies:



I'm working on their next adventure now, tentatively titled, "The Sleeping Curse," and then I have one more outlined.  Before JC and I began the Tales project, it had been years since I'd written any stories or novellas (he and I just wrote novels), and I must say, I'm having a blast.  I hope this particular little series finds an audience.


For now, if you want to read these in order: "The Keepers," "The Reluctant Guardian," "Captives," and "Claws."  I'm hoping to have "The Sleeping Curse" out sometime in July. 



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NOW AVAILABLE: Claws (“Homeward” Collection)

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Hot off the virtual press at NobleDead.org, it is time for a new release in T·N·D·S: Tales from the world of the Noble Dead Saga.

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CLAWS
sequel to Captives
Barb Hendee

$2.99 USD
Short Story, 19k+ words
ISBN-10: 0985561696
ISBN-13: 9780985561697
ASIN: B00D7P7KIU
English Only

NOTICE: this title is “on the shelves” at Amazon, B&N, and KoboBooks. It should follow shortly at iTunes / iBookStore.

For more information please visit the “Tales” page at NobleDead.org. While you are there, have a look at previous “Tales” releases in the “Homeward” and other collections. Though set in the world of the Noble Dead Saga, all “tales” and their collections do not require knowledge of any books or series by Barb & J.C. Hendee. You can easily pick up and read one as your first venture into this world. And so…

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Magical Words

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Hi gang.  I'm guest blogging today over at Magical Words

This is a great website for writers--with new posts each day by professionals.  My post today is on: "If the writer isn't having fun, the reader probably isn't having fun."

Check it out!

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NOW AVAILABLE: The Mist-Torn Witches

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MW1_usaWelcome to an all new series by Barb Hendee, set in the world of The Noble Dead Saga. It’s a book birthday! The starting volume has officially hit the shelves this morning!

Come join the sisters, Céline and Amelie Fawe, who come to discover their own hidden powers as they are caught up in the tangled, dark land of Droevinka, ruled by the “Grand Prince” whose throne is constantly in flux among great noble houses and intrigue.

Get it while its hot!

Learn more and find purchase links in the “Books” page.

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Supernatural Smack Down

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Oh, I think I've "got" the gist of the Supernatural Smackdown. Here are the first two contenders: Thaddeus Sharpe from Steven Harper's newest *The Havoc Machine* and Kyden from Stacey Kennedy's *Werewolves Be Damned.* Both characters are introduced here and there are voting button (giggles).

I think Amelie will be posted for battle on May 11th.


Dark Faerie Tales



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Event Alert!

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This should be very fun.  Dark Faerie Tales is hosting a "Supernatural Smack Down" which will be fought in rounds.  If I understand this correctly, a bunch of writers have entered their characters and supplied stats and motivations, and a new character "enters the ring" each day, and then people visiting the blog will vote on which characters should move up to the next round.  I entered Amelie!  Since she's just a little mortal human with a dagger and a sword, I doubt she'll last long against some six-hundred year old vampire or an angel with a flaming sword, but . . . it still looks like fun. There will be give-aways and prizes. I'm promoting Mist-Torn Witches . . . or I would have entered Chane.  Hah!

Supernatural Smack Down





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COMING JAN. 2014… A Wind in the Night

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S3B3_usaIt has been some two weeks since we shared anything out of NobleDead.org. Shame on us!

The cover and the description for the next volume of the Noble Dead Saga were recently finalized by our publisher and shared by editor. So we thought we would share with you as well.

MW1_usaDo not get too eager, as there are still 8 months to go before the release of this next volume. Drop by the site and head into the “Books” section. We will update the listing there and notify you if anything changes. And certainly there is more to come.

AND REMEMBER… Only 7 more days until the release of Barb’s first volume in a new separate series set in the world of the saga… The Mist-Torn Witches.

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Gardening

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Part of the reason that JC and I chose Oregon for a destination was that we could grow a lot of our own food.  Right after we bought the house, he planted two apple trees, two pear trees, three grape vines, and six blueberry bushes.  Then we ripped out about a fourth of the back yard lawn (we did this ourselves), and he built me a "bricked" veggie garden.  I love it.  This time of year is one of my favorites as we are planting and getting things going.


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The "Mom" Stamp of Approval

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So . . . my mother called me from my folks' farm up in Washington State yesterday to tell me that she'd just finished reading The Mist-Torn Witches (I sent her one of my author's copies) and that she loved it.  She said, "This is the best thing you've written."  So, now, when people ask me if the book is good, I can honestly say, "Well . . . my mom liked it."  Bahahahahahahahaha!

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Countdown

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Today . . . we are officially two weeks out from the release of The Mist-Torn Witches.  I am excited, and at the same time, my stomach is in knots.

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Mid-April

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Gosh, quiet week around here for the most part.  We're getting the garden ready for serious "veggie planting.  The apple trees have blossoms.  JC is working on a story for the Tales project, and I've been attempting to do some promotion work for The Mist-Torn Witches.

As the publishing industry changes, it's getting more and more difficult to get a new book "noticed."  My biggest worry is that the novel will be released on May 7th . . . and no one will know.

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NOW AVAILABLE (COMPLETELY): CAPTIVES by Barb Hendee

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HW6The last of our selected vendors (Apple / iTunes / iBookstore) has finally added this title to its shelves. We thought we would do just one more little update… complete with convenient links here. You can learn more if you prefer by visiting T·N·D·S: Tales from the world of the Noble Dead Saga at NobleDead.org (if you are catching this notice through one of our news distribution channels).

Amazon.com [AZW/KINDLE] BarnesandNoble.com [EPUB/NOOK]icon KoboBooks.com [EPUB]iTunes.Apple.com

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NOW AVAILABLE: Captives (in the “Homeward” collection)

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Time for another entry in T·N·D·S: Tales from the world of the Noble Dead Saga. This one also sports new design changes that will continue into the future. We will leave off and let your discover the rest for yourselves… 

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CAPTIVES
sequel to The Keepers (sort of)
Barb Hendee

$3.00 USD
Short Story, 12k+ words
ISBN-10: 098556167X
ISBN-13: 978-0-9855616-7-3
ASIN: B00BCP0M64
English Only

NOTICE: this release is “on the shelves” at Amazon, B&N, and KoboBooks. It should follow shortly at iBookStore/iTunes (as always, with past “tales,” Apple is the slow dog in the race).

For more information please visit the “Tales” page at NobleDead.org. While you are there, have a look at previous “Tales” releases in the “Homeward” and other collections. Though set in the world of the Noble Dead Saga, all “tales” and their collections do not require knowledge of the saga’s books/series. You can easily pick up and read one as your first venture into this world. And so…

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Witches in Red

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Okay, I just submitted the second book in the Mist-Torn Witches series to my editor.  This one is titled Witches in Red.

When it's released in May of 2014, it will be my 19th published novel.

Today . . . I'm just going clean the house, do laundry, and work in my garden.

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“Tales” Update… What’s Coming

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HW4_Tales_Logo_128

It has been a while (again) since the last update about “Tales from the world of the Noble Dead Saga.” Both Barb and J.C. are working on new entries in this privately published project. Other work took precedence, such as J.C. updating our sites and social networking and etc., while Barb was working on the next volume in The Mist-Torn Witches series [working title: Witches in Red]. So finally, here is what is coming…

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A Fun Poll

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My beloved cover artist Gene Mollica is up for "best cover" in the April edition of Romantic Times.  Gene did all five of Vampire Memories covers, and I loved every one.
 
Romantic Times Poll

Here is his cover that's been nominated.  If you like it, pop over and vote.  The poll to the public.



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The Yearly Writing Cycle

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JC and I went to full time writing in 2007, and we moved from Colorado to Oregon almost immediately after.  The first year here was a bit rough, as we were in a strange place with no friends or family, and we had a house to remodel and a huge back yard to turn into a combination of vegetable garden and orchard.  

Five years later, we're still continuing both those projects.

But . . . we've also settled into a yearly writing cycle that has become second nature.  Around the end of May, we start outlining the Noble Dead book that is due on our editor's desk January 1st.  We actually spend almost as much time outlining those books as we do drafting them.  There are two of us working on the books, so we need to know the story (in detail) from beginning to end before we begin drafting.

May is also the time when JC tills up the gardens, and we start serious planting (due to heavy spring rains and cold temps, Oregon has a late planting season).  From May through the first half of August, we outline in the morning, and then we either work outside in the garden or inside preserving what we've grown in the afternoon.  This is probably my favorite time of year.  Around mid-to-late August, I start drafting the book.  By September, I've got my head into the plot and I'm hard at work.  We're still doing some harvesting, mainly apples and tomatoes, at that point, but I'm at my keyboard longer.  JC starts coming behind me in the book and doing his revisions.  By October, I'm on my keyboard from dawn to dark.  Once I've finished the draft, I start coming behind him.  We normally take a two-day break for Christmas, and we have the book ready for our editor by January.

I tend to take two or three days off, and I write a new story for the "Tales" project.  Once that is done, I take about two days off, and then I start an independent novel (meaning that I write it alone, not that it's an "indie" novel.  I have a contract with Penguin).  This used to be a Vampire Memories novel, and now it is a Mist-Torn Witches novel.  I work a lot faster on my own (I think anybody would), so I have this book ready to submit by April.

Somewhere in March, I get the veggie "starters" going in the kitchen for tomatoes, zucchini, basil, bell peppers, cucumbers, etc.

Once my independently written novel is turned in, I launch full throttle into getting more stories done for the "Tales" project, so they are ready when JC needs to put up a new one.

Then in May . . . we start outlining the next Noble Dead novel.  I know this cycle cannot continue forever, but for now, it is comfortable and familiar and joyful to me.


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NEWS FLASH: New Books, Now You See Them…Oops, No You Don’t.

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This morning, Barb came across the following article in the New York Times. Though it pertains to print books in physical bookstores (at this time), it is of interest to both readers and writers where print and electronic books are concerned for the future.

Special arrangements for display space and/or positioning of new books in bookstores has been the standard for a long time. This new battle affects wholesale purchase of books before display arrangements are made… specifically which books (or which author’s books) a vendor will purchase based on past sales records.

This is too close to the issue of vendor-based “culling” that J.C. speculated on in our recent edition of the “Writer’s Corner.” Chilling stuff for how it will affect which new books—and new authors—you will (or not) discover in stores into the future. So how long before the same happens in online stores? Please have a look right now!

Orders Cut, as Publisher and Retailer Quarrel
By LESLIE KAUFMAN
Published: March 22, 2013

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Writer’s Corner: This Decade’s Challenge for Authors is… Exposure!

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17889273-young-nude-woman-showing-open-book-to-you-isolated-on-whiteNo, not exposing themselves (come on now) but their books. J.C. here, this time, with some thoughts on this scary (rather than titillating) topic.

How is it that a reader (of fantasy or other premise genre) discovers not just a new book but maybe a new author? Both the casual shopper and the specific fantasy shopper are of great concern here. Neither are served by online stores the way they used to be served by physical stores. The author, as well as the reader, is shorted by this. Let us face some assumptions in place of hard facts...

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Barnes & Noble

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Yesterday was our 28th wedding anniversary.  We had a very fun day in which we'd planned an "outing," and we left about 10:00 yesterday morning to go do various things to celebrate.
 
But I did have one moment of discomfort and worry.  JC and I stopped by the huge Bridgeport Mall up in Tualatin.  There used to be a large Borders there, but it closed down when the company went belly up.  However, B&N picked up the lease a few months ago. 

We were so happy to learn of this.  This is a big store.  But the way books are being displayed now is soooooo different from just a few years ago.  Nearly half the bottom floor of the bookstore is now a big circular center for the Nook (and the layout of that area reminded me of walking into an Apple Store).  When Dhampir came out in 2003, Borders had stacks of new mass market paperback releases on tables right inside the front door.  No one could miss them.  That's how Dhampir got initially noticed, and word of mouth did the rest.  All genres were stacked there.  B&N did something similar, but in racks set up through the heavy traffic sections of the store.  Again, customers couldn't miss those books. 

All that is gone now.  Borders of course is gone.  But yesterday, at B&N, I noticed all the mass market racks were gone.  Mass market paperbacks have all been relegated to the "New Release" section of their genre.  New Mystery.  New Romance.  New SF/Fantasy.  So, people will see a new mass market only if they take the trouble to go to that particular genre and look at the New Release shelf.  I'm hoping this is a fluke and that other B&N stores haven't given up on the mass market center aisle racks.  I'm afraid no one is ever even going to see The Mist-Torn Witches when it's released.

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Naughty Kitty

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Miss Ashes was raaaaaaaather naughty yesterday.  First, she tracked cat litter all over my clean hard wood floor, and then she somehow got up into the bedroom closet, got into a bag of yarn, and managed to pull down a pretty good sized ball.


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Coming Next January… A Wind in the Night

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S3B2_usaThe final detail—the title—of the next volume in the Noble Dead Saga has been settled after consulting with our editor. Series 3, Book 3 is officially titled…

A Wind in the Night

We will add it to the books listing at NobleDead.org, though further details are still pending. This next volume will again contain three stories intertwined.

You will briefly step back to the end of S3B2: The Dog in the Dark and catch up from there with Wynn Hygeorht, Chane Andraso, and Chap’s daughter, the black majay-hi called called Shade… as well as one other character we will not mention for fear of spoilers linked to the current book.

Nested within the first tale is a second one out of the past providing missing pieces and possible implications of how that fourth character was transformed. All four of these protagonists stumble upon a new adversary, perhaps linked to an old enemy they have faced more than once. And in their search for clues to another orb, they must protect a young sage from his own past.

MW1_usaAnd of course, the third tale intertwined with these two moves forward with Magiere, Leesil, and Chap, as they head onward in their own search for another orb, one of the lost Anchors of Creation. Along the way, something else begins to change with one of their other two companions that presents them with a puzzle. And there are more threats to their endeavors than they may be aware of.

As soon as cover art, content description, or other details come available for S3B3: A Wind in the Night, you will hear of it first if you stay tuned to various Noble Dead news and social outlets. In the meantime, do not forget that a whole separate series of adventures in the world of the Noble Dead begins in less than six weeks.

Excerpts for the first volume in the new Mist-Torn Witches series by Barb are now available in the “Books” page at both NobleDead.org and BarbHendee.org.

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The Writer’s Corner: Authors and Their Books (and other Fairytales from the Internet)

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J.C. here to introduce Barb’s new entry in this article series. You might think the internet’s rapid growth makes information more accessible to all. “Information” is not the same as “fact” or “truth.” Add in that the amount of misinformation (and disinformation) is growing exponentially, and the internet now empowers rumors like nothing else before it. It is probably not surprising to any of you that there are people who actually think those rumors are true… a fact.

All of this applies to what some readers think about authors and their works. Worse so, now that the e-self-publishing craze is approaching critical mass. Perhaps too many (or more) think all authors are now self-publishing every work that appears for sale on the Internet.

Does anyone look at the publisher of the works they purchase? Do they realize that the author is separate from what is listed there? Okay, so a lot of the e-self-publishers are faking that part with a made up imprint or house in order to look like a professional publisher produced the “product,” but still…

Here is a little tale from Barb concerning a reader who came across a listing for the coming first book in The Mist-Torn Witches series. The topic of Barb’s post might even become the first in a subseries about myths concerning authors and their works. I hope not too many of you are surprised by what we (still) hear about how people think we authors work and play…

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Sequel Drafted!

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Okay . . . so it's been a long couple of months--good but long.

First, I have to say that I LOVE the new look JC has given to this website.  I'm so lucky that I married a webmaster.  Without him, I'd have to pay someone to set all this up for me.

Second, yesterday, I completed the sequel to The Mist-Torn Witches.

This second book is titled Witches in Red, and it's a who-done-it murder mystery in a fantasy setting . . . with werewolves.  I also threw in a bit of dark magic, spears, crossbows, some angst-ridden kissing. Should be fun.

But it's strange how all this works regarding due dates.  The book isn't officially due until May 1st--because that's when the first book in the series will be published.  So, I've completed book two before book one is even available for purchase.  That's just how things work with a series.

Anyway, the fabulous thing is that I can take today off.

Happy day off to me!

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The Mist-Torn Witches… A Preview

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MW1_usa

A while back, we decided to discontinue hosting book “excerpts” at our sites, NobleDead.org and BarbHendee.org. Such are available at all online vendors for the ebook editions of our works. Hosting our own excerpts seemed redundant, but things change..

Excerpts of the first volume in the coming Mist-Torn Witches series are now available at both of our sites. Go into either site’s “Books” page, select the book’s title in the right-hand menu, and you will see the link directly below the book’s cover. Click it, and the excerpts will appear in an overlay panel. The prologue and the first two chapters are ready for you!

So now you have a little something to tide your over until MW1: The Mist-Torn Witches hits the shelves this coming May.

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Two Month Countdown . . .

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Okay, gang, we are now two months out from the release of The Mist-Torn Witches, and I'm going to start marketing actively.  JC should have excerpts up for me this week--so that readers can get a taste of the story.

I haven't been this excited about a book launch since Dhampir was waiting in the wings.  The Mist-Torn Witches is a truly fun novel with murder, intrigue, ghosts, adventure, and a touch of romance.


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Point of View

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To my surprise, I've been receiving fan emails for "The Forgotten Lord."  Although the Tales project has been popular, I normally don't receive many fan mails regarding the stories themselves.  But this one has instilled people to write to me . . . and this makes me glad.

The piece is written in first person, and I have not attempted that point-of-view in about fifteen years.  I enjoyed it so much that I'm actually considering a series for the future that would be written in a first person narrative.

The drawback to writing in first person is that you can only show anything happening in the book from one character's perspective.  I mean, imagine how different the Sookie Stackhouse novels would be if Bill and Eric each had a POV. 

With the Noble Dead books, JC and I need to play the characters off each other, and therefore we need multiple perspectives.

The benefit of a first person narrative is that as a writer, you can really let the reader get to know your narrator, and . . . you can also play around with the "unreliable narrator," which can be fun.  We are all the hero of our own stories (smiles).

Anyway, this piece seems to be resonating, and that makes me happy.

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Valentine's Day

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I've always found Valentine's Day to be a manufactured holiday (probably cultured by the greeting card industry), that tends to make people coming off a bad break-up feel worse for no reason.  But . . . JC and I usually do something fun--or at least interesting.  The most apropos V-Day happened two years ago and sort of defines our relationship.  JC actually asked me (and this alone is unheard of), "Um, do you want anything for Valentine's Day?"  He is not the type of man to buy flowers (ever), so in surprise I said, "Yes, maybe some roses for the table?"  On V-Day, I woke up and walked out into the kitchen to find dirt all over the floor and nine thorny, dormant vines inside of plastic bags and dirt.  He'd bought me four large rose vines and five miniature tea rose vines.  I stared at them and he said, "Get your boots and find a shovel."  Ah, romance.

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NOW AVAILABLE — Tales of Misbelief, I: The Forgotten Lord

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Time for our first 2013 entry in Tales from the world of the Noble Dead Saga. We did a little behind the scenes reorganization of the “tales” project. Barb’s latest tale is now the opener for the new sequence called “Tales of Misbelief.” So without further ado…

MB1

Barb Hendee
$3.00 USD
Short Story, Standalone, 15k+ words
ISBN-10: 098556167X
ISBN-13: 978-0-9855616-7-3
ASIN: B00BCP0M64
English Only

NOTICE: this release is “on the shelves” at Amazon, B&N, and KoboBooks. It should follow shortly at iBookStore/iTunes.

For more information please visit the “Tales” page at NobleDead.org. While you are there, have a look at previous “Tales” releases in the “Homeward” and “Bones of the Earth” sequences. Though set in the world of the Noble Dead Saga, all “tales” and their sequences do not require knowledge of the saga’s books/series. You can easily pick up and read one as your first venture into this world.

You Do NOT Need an eReader

Free Apps to purchase ebooks directly from your computer or other devices are available for Windows, OS X, Android, iOS and sometimes Linux. Yes, you can buy your first ebook as a test right from your computer. There are even free ebooks so you do not have to spend a dime to test what ebooks are all about.

NOTE: If you purchase an ebook on your computer from a specific vendor and then later buy a portable ereader device from that vendor, all of your previously purchased books will automatically load to your new ereader.

Better yet, if you buy an Android or iOS device (such as a full or small sized tablet) and then load the vendor’s app to that device… once again all of your purchases will load to that device. You can even load apps from all of the vendors and shop wherever you want. That’s what J.C. does, though he has a few additional tricks for pulling any vendor’s books into his own preferred reader app called Mantano. He also speaks highly of Aldiko. Both have a free version to try out.

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The Writer’s Corner: We Really are Paid Entertainers… Unfortunately

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Over the years, I’ve often heard professional stage actors sigh heavily and say, “If I have to do one more performance of Arsenic and Old Lace or A Christmas Carol, my head will explode. I’m dying to do something artistic!”
I sympathize, but anyone who chooses acting as a profession is a paid entertainer. If they wish to get their rent paid and buy groceries, they have to reconcile themselves to more productions of plays like Arsenic and Old Lace, because entertaining plays like this sell lots and lots of tickets. So does A Christmas Carol. When people spend $60 on a ticket to see a play, especially in today’s economy, they want to know going in that they will be entertained.

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The Writer's Corner: The Wandering Ways of Your Wages

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moneymonster4Everyone talks about how the publishing industry is changing — and it is. Today, I am thinking about the flow of money, particularly where it flows, to whom, and in what order. Most professional novelists have an agent who is part of that flow.

Under the original model, agents handle all aspects of the business and financial side of things. It is written into the contract that 100% of all money earned from  the sale of a book will go directly to the agent. So, all advance and royalty checks are received by the agent, who then cashes these checks, keeps 15%, and sends the novelist his/her 85%.

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Saturday Morning Moment of Cuteness

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It's really been cold here in Oregon--like unseasonably cold.  Normally, we get a little weather in the low twenties in January and February, but not weeks and weeks of it on end.

JC and I have a wood stove insert out in the living room, and we've been living in that area of the house lately.

So have our cats.  The girls are nine months old now.  I can hardly believe it.  

A few days ago, I brought my computer out to "the warm area" to write while sitting on the couch, and this how I found them, on their favorite blankie.


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“Tales” and What’s to Come…

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HW5_Tales_Logo_128It has been a while since we did an update on “Tales from the world of the Noble Dead Saga.” Time for a little catch-up on this and a few other Noble Dead related topics. As previously mentioned before S3B2: The Dog in the Dark hit the shelves, we told our publisher we would not release any “tale” during the month before (and after) the release date of a new book in the saga. As we near the end of that window, here is what is coming…

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The Writer's Corner: Do Traditionally Published Writers Have More of an Edge than just Name Recognition?

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This post might get me some hate mail, but I feel the need to express some thoughts here.

I had a strange epiphany yesterday while doing a read-through of a 16,000 word story that I'd just finished.

Last spring, JC and I launched a self-published project called "Tales from the World of the Noble Dead."  We write stories between about 50 and 150 pages all set in the world of the Noble Dead Saga.

Tales

This project has been surprisingly successful.  One of the reasons for this is probably that JC and I do have some name recognition and a built-in fan base, and our website is now receiving about 12,000 hits a month (this has been steadily climbing).

But as I was completing the first draft of a new story yesterday, something important occurred to me.

I've been working with Roc Books for twelve years (since 2001).  Over the years, I've had three very good editors who all focused on slightly different elements of fiction during the editorial process. I've learned a great deal from all three of them, and they have made me a much better writer.

I am not some Prima Donna writer who thinks that solid gold fiction comes straight out of my bottom.  Creating something publishable takes work and revision.  My current editor always calls me on things when I've taken the easy way out or when I have not justified a plot point enough.

Yesterday, when I was going through my story, I had a pad and pen in my hand, and four times I stopped and thought, "Susan would never let me get away with that."  Then I jotted down notes regarding certain sections still needed more work.

I haven't always agreed with my editors, but they have always made me think, and they make me work harder, and with this Tales project (where JC and I are functioning as each other's editors), I want to make a story as solid as possible before he reads it.  Then I want the final product to be as professionally written as my novels being published by Roc.

As a result, I go through the stories and look at them through the eyes of my New York editor.  I really do believe that this would give any traditionally published writer an edge over a writer who has never worked with a professional editor.

This might be one more reason for fledgling writers to consider a traditional publisher before going indie.

Just a thought for today.

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Writing Spaces . . .

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I've always been envious of writers who can take their notebook computers and go to a coffee shop, order up a foamy latte, and then be able to actually sit there and write. To me, this image is so romantic--the fiction writer in hipster glasses pounding away in the coffee shop, able to shut out the world, and yet still be able to sit there in the middle of the world writing away.  I love to envision myself in this setting.

Tragically, my brain doesn't function that way.  I need to be able to mentally "vanish."  I need to absolutely forget my surroundings and step inside the story.  In order for me to do this, I need to work someplace that is so utterly familiar that I don't notice it.

 To this end, at present, there are only two places where I am able to write.

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Baby, it's cold outside

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I've heard it said that the northwest is a good place for writers . . . as it rains all the time, and so they just stay indoors writing.  That isn't exactly true, as the summers and early falls here in Oregon are gorgeous.  But compared to Colorado, it rarely snows.  We're having a hard cold snap here this week though.  It's 22 degrees outside this morning, and it snowed last night.  JC and I have plenty of food and firewood, and we really are just going hole up here today and write.  Here's a shot of the tree in our front yard.  It's a winter wonderland out there.





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Book Release Week!

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Yesterday, JC and I drove to our nearest Barnes & Noble to sign some copies of the newly released hardcover of The Dog in the Dark.  For me, seeing the new book on the shelf never gets old (smiles).


While we were there,  I picked up a copy of the mass market edition of Between Their Worlds . . .


And I was excited to see that at the end of the new mass market, our publisher put in a "teaser" for The Mist-Torn Witches, and they included the prologue.  So . . . if you want a sneak peak at the The Mist-Torn Witches, just glance at the end of the mass market paperback for Between Their Worlds.



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Myth Busters: Marketing

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Myth Busters:  Anyone Can Market a Self-published E-Novel with Wild Success

 There are actually two myths I want to cover in this post, but the first one is short.  Here is one of the most common questions that hopeful new writers ask of the loudly vocal gurus touting the miracle of self-publishing: 

“If I am a totally unknown writer, how do I market my self-published e-novel?”

The answer these poor folks receive from the vocal gurus always makes me bang my head slowly on the desk. Here is the very helpful answer that is always given:

“Marketing?  You don’t need to worry about marketing.  Just write the best, most fabulous novel you can and put it out there. It will find an audience.”

Ugh. Horse poop.  Piles and piles of horse poop.

This answer is so absurd that it barely warrants a response.  If you are a completely unknown writer, no matter how fabulous your novel might be, how is anyone going to know it exists?  Any writer with two brain cells that can actually fire at the same time should be able to reason that much.

Moving on to the topic of marketing . . . There are a number of online sources that claim anyone can market a self-published e-novel with great success.  JC and I are in a “better than most” position as we have a pretty well established readership built up over the last decade plus. Our official NobleDead.org website had 10,500 hits in the past thirty days and has been climbing steadily over the last 5 years.

JC markets the pants off of our “Tales from the World of the Noble Dead” over there, and he has built us an automated social networking system; everything we post on that site goes out to some twelve different social system satellite pages/sites that he has set up. This of course includes Facebook (#TheNobleDeadSaga) and Twitter (#NobleDeadOrg), as well as Google+, Squidoo, Pinterest, Delicious, and more. And all of those satellites are linked on our site along with automated share systems for visitors to help us out.

However . . . our entire marketing base consists of built-in Noble Dead fans. This has created both a driving force and some limitations on what we write for our indie titles.  We would LOVE to find a way to break out of marketing to only our built in-fans (even though we are extremely thankful to them).  So, lately, we’ve been doing a lot of research in this regard, but I’ve seen the same advice everywhere . . . and much of it offers a total avoidance of reality.

From this point on, I’m going to switch gears and approach this from the viewpoint of a brand new novelist with no fan base at all.  Here is the advice given over and over and over in every book and every online site I’ve read:

Anyone Can Market a Self-Published E-book with Wild Success!  Here’s How . . .

1) Create your own blog and begin building an email list from that blog.

2) Write "guest posts" on other people’s related blogs to tap into their existing audiences.  This will allow you to rapidly build a fan base.

3) Use the email list you’re constructing to begin marketing your book before it is even published.

4) Use social media like Facebook and Twitter to let everyone know about your self-published, e-book.

By following these steps, your book will have a built-in audience before it is even released!

Okay . . . this is Barb chatting again.  Can anyone point out a few problems with this glistening advice? 

Regarding #1:  First, if you are a complete unknown, how do you get people to visit your blog and express interest in signing up for your email list? 

Regarding #2: If you are a complete unknown (novelist), how do you convince others to let you write a guest post on their blog?

Now . . . I can see this working if you have knowledge or a skill that is a strong running thread in your novel.  For example, if you’re well versed in martial arts, and your novel contains a good deal of martial arts, you might know some folks running blogs on various martial art practices who would allow you to come in and talk about the novel (fiction) that you’ve written.  I don’t know if this will get you any sales, but you can see what I mean.  If you’ve included any skill (or knowledge) that you possess in your novel, you might be able to tap into #2 above.

But what if you’ve just written a basic dynamite fantasy novel—and you’re otherwise unpublished?  How do you convince people running blogs to let you be a guest?  I’m not sure.  I think it’s certainly possible (if you can come up with an angle), but it’s not as easy as these “how to” people seem to suggest.

#3 can be somewhat perilous, so do be careful.  At first, that list is probably going to consist of your Grandma Bea, your brother, Henry, three of your first cousins, and a few friends from high school.  

Most people don’t like spam.  It takes ten times as much work in the long run (according to J.C.) versus building a functional, automated social connections system off of that same blog. Any blog worth its weight should have an RSS feed that your readers can subscribe to, so they don’t need you loading up their inbox.

#4 though makes a good deal of sense, and it probably should be the first thing you do.  Work smarter, not harder, especially if your work isn’t quite yet making you enough money to pay for all that extra time in which you should be writing your next great novel.

Please don’t misunderstand me.  With this post, I am NOT discouraging anyone from self-publishing.  I’m rapidly becoming a huge fan of self-publishing.  I’m just asserting that marketing may be a tad more complicated and elusive than what you might be told going in . . . and please ignore any hogwash from the gurus telling you that you don’t need to worry about marketing at all.  Again . . . ugh.


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