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

UPDATE: Availability of the latest Noble Dead Saga books

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S3B2_usaFrom Barb: Okay, I just checked the B&N stores within a hundred miles of our house, and all of them are showing that they have copies of S3B2: The Dog in the Dark. I just wanted to make sure because this is an unusual release date for us.

S3B1_usaSo far, the only glitch I'm seeing for this release date is that the mass market paperback for S3B1: Between Their Worlds is being listed on Amazon and B&N as a completely separate book (it's not linked on the hard cover/Kindle page at either site), and the e-editions are still listed at $12.99 when they should have dropped to $7.99. Our publisher is closed for the holidays, but if this problems has not corrected itself, I'll contact our editor on Wednesday and see if she can help.

From J.C.: Certain standard vendors we link for each book on our “Books” page have delayed updating their listing for S3B2: The Dog in the Dark. Very frustrating for us, as well as some of our readers of ebook editions. This has been reported to our publisher, and I am monitoring those vendors several times per day. As soon as proper listings are available, I will update them immediately on our site.

Noble DEAD Raffle #1—UPDATE

The winner of the first raffle has been determined and notified, but we have yet to set up processing on the prize. Please stayed tuned for the official announcement later today, along with details for when the next raffle will begin. There will be a little something extra as well for what is coming.

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Happy Holiday!

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I hope everyone had a lovely holiday yesterday.  JC and I were on our own this year, but we had a fun day, opening gifts in the morning, and then going to see The Hobbit in the afternoon.

Due to the reality of having two eight-month old kitties in the house, we couldn't put any wrapped packages out until the last minute: for fear having them "opened" for us (smiles).

Once the gifts were out, excitement and great interest followed.  Here is Miss Cinders checking out the colorful ribbons.

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The Writer's Corner: Myth Busters

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In the past year or so, there has been a small explosion of overly loud voices in the writer’s community blogosphere shouting to the rooftops about the “new world of publishing,” and how everything has changed and how new writers must now do everything differently from how it was done just a few years ago (while I would assert that we need to do some things differently).  These loud voices are constantly putting up “Myth Buster” posts. Most successful writers (meaning those who make a living at this) tend to ignore those loud voices and just quietly carry on at making a living with their writing.  I know I should ignore those loud voices too, but I feel compelled to write my own “Myth Busters” post on the other end of the spectrum.  So . . . here goes:

New myth #1:  You don’t need an agent to sell to a New York editor.

This one bothers me a lot.  Yes, I know that it’s tough to get agent (even grueling and disappointing in the process). New writers often get ignored by the agents to whom they’ve submitted, and it would be a lovely, lovely thought to believe, “Hey, I don’t need an agent to sell to a New York editor.  I can do this on my own.”  But it just makes me wince when new writers are fed this line.  Don’t get me wrong; it might be possible to get your novel proposal on the desk of a New York editor without an agent . . . but it’s very improbable.  All the big houses have gone to a “no unagented manuscript” policy (which I know is not fair), and most of the editors have assistants who weed out the unagented novel proposals and send them back with a form letter.  Please be aware of this.  It is VERY difficult to even get your proposal onto the desk of a New York editor without an agent.  It’s not impossible.  It’s just very difficult.

Side note: For established writers with solid connections, I do think it’s becoming possible to function without an agent (and to just use an intellectual property lawyer for the contract), but I hang out with a lot of writers, and the successful ones (meaning those making a living at this), all have agents.  JC and I have an agent.

Myth #2: New York publishers are evil and their only goal in life is to cheat writers out of every last possible penny.  So, all new writers must avoid them.

This just makes me groan.  Yes, publishing is a business.  Yes, publishers are out to make money. Yes, contracts are getting more draconian, and that’s why we need professional help in going over every word of the contract before signing it.  But . . . viewing our publishers as “the Enemy” is not productive to our writing careers.  For a brand new writer to abstain from New York publishing simply because he or she fears being “cheated” out of money is absurd.  JC and I make our house payments with the money we earn from our professionally published books.  That’s how we earn the brunt of our living.  We make a little grocery money from our indie projects.

Don’t forgo the chance at real money simply because you fear being “cheated” by a publisher.  Just take your time with any contract you sign, get professional assistance, and make sure you understand what you’re signing.

Myth #3:  A self-published writer has just as much chance of getting a book into B&N as a writer with a New York publisher.

This one is so absurd that it almost doesn’t deserve to be here . . . but I’ve seen this ridiculous myth in too many blog posts by the “overly loud voices.”  This is absolutely ridiculous.  Right now, the major publishers are jockeying for space in Barnes & Noble.  The major publishers send huge, glossy catalogues to the book reps, and the reps order from those. Our publisher pays for “up front” space for the books they publish—and for space in those center aisle racks.  Plus, our publisher gets our mass market paperbacks into Safeway and Fred Meyer’s.  You cannot do this on your own.  Now, this is no reason for you NOT to go indie.  But just be aware that the employees at B&N have started to run (and I mean run) for the break room if they even suspect the person coming at them might be an indie writer trying to get her/her book on the shelf.

Myth #4:  All successful, traditionally published writers despise indie writers, hurl insults upon them, and have a tendency to beat them up and take their lunch money.

Ugh.  This one bothers me more than I can say.  Again . . . I hang with a lot of traditionally published writers, and I can promise you that not a one of them has an ounce of scorn for indie writers . . . rather just the opposite.  Most of the traditionally published writers I know are extremely interested in dipping their toes in indie publishing.  They are excited at the prospect.  JC and I have already started.  We’re having a blast.  But again . . . what we earn here is not enough to live on.

Any scorn, derision, or insults that I’ve seen or heard have come purely from the staunch indie writers and have been flung at the traditionally published writers: words like “lazy” and “sell out” and “stupid” and “gullible”.  Trust me.  I am none of those things, and neither are any of the successful traditionally published writers I know.
Myth #5:  An indie writer without a fan base has just as much chance of success as a long time published writer (who goes indie) with a fan base and a backlist.

I’m not sure what to say about this one, as JC and I are really just now trying to figure out the whole “marketing” concept for indie publishing.  I’m not even sure this myth belongs here.  I only included it because we get about 8,000 hits a month on our Noble Dead website, and JC has done a bang-up job of having any posts on the Noble Dead site flood outward into other social media.  So . . . because we already have a solid fan base, we managed to find a market for the “Tales” project.  I’m honestly not sure how a writer with no fan base would manage this.  I’m not saying it can’t be done.  I’m just now sure how it would be done.

Myth #6:  Ninety-nine percent of indie published fiction is as well edited and proofread as traditionally published fiction.

Okay, I have seen badly proofread professionally published fiction, and I’ve seen some decently edited and proofread indie fiction.  But in all honesty, most of the indie fiction I’ve seen is a mess.  This is NOT an insult to indie writers.  This is simply what I personally have seen.

JC and I have struggled with this ourselves, and we’ve used outside proofreaders, but with our indie stuff, we certainly do not have anything like the support of our publisher.  The Noble Dead novels are edited, copy-edited, and professionally proofread, and we are involved at every stage.  Sometimes a typo or two will still slip past all of us, but I really do appreciate the support system of our publisher . . . and working on these indie projects has made me appreciate them more.

Okay . . . I may get flamed for saying some of the things above, but I felt the need to say them.

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Tales from the World of the Noble Dead

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I've noticed a lot of new traffic on my site lately, and for anyone who might not know, I wanted to do an announcement about the "Tales from the World of Noble Dead." 

JC and I are electronically publishing "longish" stories set in the world of the Noble Dead about popular side characters who our readers have met over the years.  The story to the left here is about Aunt Beija, and the one down below is about Loni, the elf, who lives in Miiska.

These are a lot of fun.  They are only available electronically (Amazon, B&N, Apple, etc), but for more information and purchase links, pop over to the Noble Dead website and click on "Tales" at the top:  nobledead

Happy reading!

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COMING SOON: Another “Noble Dead” Raffle!

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NOTICE: No early entries will be accepted at this time. Please wait for the coming official announcement of the first raffle’s opening via the newsfeeds.

S3B1_usaVery soon, we will begin another series of six bi-weekly raffles for varied hardback volumes and paperback sets, all signed by us and delivered to your door. Right now, we are buried in completing the manuscript for next year’s volume in the Noble Dead Saga, but since a new volume is about to hit the shelves…

Of course, the first raffle’s prize will be a signed, hardback, first edition of S3B2: The Dog in the Dark.

Following raffles will be a mix as yet to be announced. In that mix will be a few other copies of this new book.

That is all for now, but we will be back with you soon. The official opening for the new series of raffles is not far off.

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Happy dance!  A big ole box of these just showed up on the front doorstep.

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Just for fun . . .

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JC and I are prepping for the holidays, and yesterday, we had boxes scattered all over the living room.  Ashes and Cinders both LOVE boxes, and they ran over them . . . inside them . . . through them . . .

Then after about 45 minutes of solid playful madness, they just collapsed for a nap.  They looked so cute I shot a picture.  These two sisters really love each other.

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FYI: Ghosts of Memories

Hi Gang:

I've been receiving a number of somewhat confused emails asking me, "What a minute . . . is Ghosts of Memories the final book in this series?"

The short answer is, "Yes, this is the last book of the series."

The longer answer is that wrapping up this series was a mutual decision between me and my publisher.  I love this series and so does my editor, but it just never found an audience.

This is a tough business, and a series has to sell a lot of books to stay in the game, and I decided that I might "not" be an urban fantasy writer.  It just might not be my forte.  So, I ended the series (with a bang), and I pitched another one

The Mist-Torn Witches:

This will be out in May.  I'm very excited this new series, and I am sad to be done writing for Eleisha, Wade, and Philip . . . but I did pull out all the stops in Ghosts of Memories, and it is quite a ride.


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The Writer's Corner

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I'm going to try and put up a "Writer's Post" again now and then--as a number of people have asked me to share thoughts on various elements of the business, the process, or life as a writer.

So, here goes . . . 

The Possible Dangers of Giving it your "All"

It’s funny how our perspectives can change as we get older.  Back in my grad school days, in my late twenties and early thirties, I knew a number of people whose dream was to be a professional writer, and they were going after that dream no matter what it cost them.  At the time, I found that mindset quite romantic.  For myself . . . I planned to teach college English as my career and write on the side in hopes of becoming published.  But I had a husband and a daughter, and I feared putting all my future eggs into the basket of “making it as a writer.”  I had personal and financial responsibilities. 

However, though I was pragmatic for myself, I still over-romanticized the bohemian idea of living on almost nothing and sacrificing everything for the goal of “becoming a writer.”

I will be fifty years old in June, and my perspective is beginning to change somewhat. 

I now know more than a few people who are also in their fifties, who did sacrifice everything—career, financial goals, relationships, everything—for the dream of “becoming a writer” . . . and then it never happened for them.  I’m finding that this is not so romantic for people in their mid-fifties heading into their sixties.

Recently, I’ve been faced with a few real tragedies for people who clung only to that one goal and dogmatically ignored everything else in their lives.

At the same time, I believe that the people who become published, successful writers are the ones who don’t give up.

So, for my younger friends out there who want to be writers, I say, follow your dreams, don’t ever give up, but develop a back-up plan and put the needs of the people you love first.   Also . . . think about a retirement account.

Barb’s two cents for the day.

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Magiere and Leesil dolls

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JC and I are throwing a holiday party on Saturday night, and we've been decorating the house.  This morning, I was thinking about decorating our office, and in the process, I began dusting and cleaning the bookshelf that holds copies of the Noble Dead saga--and I made sure these two folks to the left were cleaned and dusted.

Years ago, one of our fans (a lovely woman named Virginia) made these two dolls for us.  They stand on the bookshelf and guard the books! (smiles).  Our office is decorated year-round with prints of our book covers and a huge map of the guild in Calm Seatt.

But these two still remain among my favorite things in our office.

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This is always such a strange time of year for me and JC.  With the way our publisher works, we need to turn in the draft for "next year's book" in the same month "this year's book" is released.  When Dhampir was first released in January of 2003, we knew nothing about the publishing industry, and we had no idea that we'd gotten fairly lucky with our release month--in early January.  Tons of folks have Amazon and B&N gift certificates, freshly received from the holidays. 

So . . . since then, every January, JC and I have "the next book" due on our editor's desk.  Right now, we are eagerly awaiting the release of The Dog in the Dark, and at the same time, we are trying to get ready for the holidays (buying gifts, writing cards, decorating the house, and planning a holiday party), while we are finishing up the first draft of a fat Noble Dead novel that is due right after Christmas.  I tend to write in the mornings, but sometimes at this time of year, I go all day and then play catch-up on other things in the early evening.

And . . . I drink too much coffee (smiles).

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