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Twitter Live Read

d2drdoneNext Tuesday, I am going to do a fun thing, an exciting thing, a READING thing. And you are invited to do that thing with me!

It all started with an idea: what if a few Deadline Dames read a book live together at the same time and post comments, funny observations and otherwise chat it up on Twitter?

The adventurous Rinda Elliott, offered up the first book in her new YA triliogy, FORETOLD, for the live read.  Her second book, FORECAST, comes out in August, so this is the perfect time to read book #1.

Karen Mahoney and I jumped on the chance to read it together along with Rinda, who might even offer up some behind-the-scenes secrets about writing the book.

There will be prizes! Oh, yes, there will.  Two $25 gift certificates to a favorite bookstore and two copies of FORECAST will be given to readers who re-tweet along with us.

So, next Tuesday, stay tuned for the very first Dame-to-Dame Read, live on Twitter.  Follow the hashtags: #d2dr or #Foretold to stay up with the fun. You can also follow along on the Deadline Dame web page if you don’t have a Twitter account. I’ll be posting my tweets to Facebook, so you can hear all about it there too.

And, hey…if you want to read along with us and offer up your comments and hang out with Rinda, (@rindaelliott)  Karen (@kazmahoney)  and me (@devonmonk), we would love to have you!

For more info, check out the Dame page here.


It is written that three Sisters of Fate have the power
to change the world’s destiny.
But only if they survive…
The Lockwood triplets have had the prophecy drummed into their heads since birth. Still, Raven, the eldest of the sisters, can’t believe it’s really happening. She’s the reincarnation of a Norse goddess? One of the sisters is destined to die? When it starts snowing in summer in Florida, the sisters fear the worst has come to pass. Ragnarok, the Norse end of the world, has begun.

Raven finds herself the secret protector of Vanir, a boy with two wolves, a knowledge of Norse magic and a sense of destiny he can’t quite explain. He’s intense, sexy and equally determined to save her when it becomes clear someone is endangering them. Raven doesn’t know if getting closer to him will make a difference in the coming battle, but her heart isn’t giving her a choice.

Ahead of the sisters is the possibility of death at the hand of a warrior, death by snow, death by water or death by fire.

Or even from something else…

Sisters of Fate
The prophecy doesn’t lie: one is doomed to die.

Mirrored from Devon Monk.

Winners! House Immortal ARCs

A big thank you to readers for entering the giveaway for early copies of the first book in my new trilogy: HOUSE IMMORTAL.

I fired up the random number generator, and the winners are:

Tanya R. Monroe  who said: LOVED the Allie Beckstrom and Breakers books. Can’t wait to get my hands on this new series!!!

Jen Schaper who said: This sounds like a great new series! I’d love to win a copy :)

courtney who said: I love reading all of your books

Julie who said: Cool! I love ARCS, but then I’m a very impatient person by nature. :)

Diane Joy Baker who said: Twould be lovely to win. Sure like the cover; nice rifle she holds!

Tracey boyd who said: Thank you for the opportunity to read your new series. I have been a reader of your books for years!


Winners will have one week (until July 1st) to contact me via the little email button on my blog with their mailing address.

If winners don’t contact me, I will do a speed giveaway first-comments-first-wins of the remaining books Wednesday July 2nd, probably in the afternoon.

arc house immortal 6

My next giveaway will be in my not-quite quarterly newsletter. If you haven’t signed up for that yet, you can click on the SUBSCRIBE button top of the sidebar on my web page. The newsletter is full of news, free stories, exclusive sneak peeks, behind-the-scenes, goodies and giveaways.

Mirrored from Devon Monk.

House Immortal ARC givaway

Winners have been announced click here to see.

I have six (6!) shiny advance reader copies of HOUSE IMMORTAL, book #1 in my new trilogy, that I am giving away!

Things you should know:

This is what the ARCs look like:

arc house immortal 6

No pretty cover and plenty of pre-proof typos inside for your reading amusement. Here’s the pretty cover, just in case you missed it.

House Immortal.indd

HOUSE IMMORTAL comes out September 2nd, so winners of the ARC will be getting their hands on this book two and a half months early!

How do you win?

Leave a comment here on my blog and I will use the random number generator to choose six winners next Tuesday on June 24th before midnight PST.

Winners will have one week (until July 1st) to contact me via the little email button on my blog with their mailing address.

If winners don’t contact me, I will do a speed giveaway first-comments-first-wins of the remaining books Wednesday July 2nd, probably in the afternoon.

I will mail international.

Mirrored from Devon Monk.

Plot Talk

I am blogging over on the Deadline Dames today, and this post is also available there. :)

Brace yourself, people. I’m going to talk plotting. *waits for room to empty*
Okay, now that it’s just the two of us here, I’m going to tell you how I plot a novel. Well, I’m going to tell you the tools I use to plot a novel.

Fair warning: this is a long post, and I’ve probably talked about some of this before.  But it seemed like a good time to bring it up again, especially since I’ve been stuck plotting lately.

Also, these tools may or may not work for you. Heck, half the time they may or may not work for me. But of all the things I’ve tried, these are the most consistent, hands-on tools currently at my disposal.

One more side note: Please don’t think this is the only way to approach story. I’ll often start with this method and totally wander off track–usually in the middle of writing the book! There are many, many ways to outline a novel.  This is just the handiest cheat sheet for me at the moment.

Ready?  Here we go.

Um…okay.  I have just written and deleted a chunk of info about characterization, and how I always must know what my characters most fear, and what they most need, and what they will do to avoid and obtain those things respectively. There might have been naked Balrog and a mention of Freddy Krueger in stripy pajamas.

But we’re going to skip all that.  You know who your main character is, right?  And totally know their deepest fear and non-negotiable need.  Because no matter what BANG-BOOM things you throw at your characters in the book, you are going to ruthlessly dig into those terrible needs and fears every chance you get.  Bring them up and make the characters confront them over and over, right?  External BANG-BOOM conflicts are hollow without the ticking, bleeding heart of a character’s needs and fears thumping away between the lines.

I firmly believe characterization and internal struggles are absolutely vital to plotting…but that’s another post.

This post: Plotting.

Not to be boring, but the good ol’ 12-step Hero’s Journey**  is a good place to start.  Here’s how I think of it: (If this is old hat to you, feel free to skip down to the next bit.)

1. Ordinary world – Here is my main character’s ordinary world
2. Call to adventure – Someone, something isn’t right with our hero’s ordinary world and maybe  someone says Hero should do something about it. Or Hero wishes he/she could do something about it.
3. Refusal of call – Naw. Hero has lots of reasons not to deal with this problem. Hero might even list these reasons.  Hero has sweet denial skills.
4. Arrival of Mentor – Someone slaps hero up the backside of the head and tells Hero he/she must go on this adventure.
5. Crossing the Threshold into the Extra-Ordinary World – Hero decides to go on the adventure, for reasons. Hero wants to solve the case, save the orphan, cook the meth, vorpal the cube. This often is related to what Hero needs and fears.
6. Tests, Allies, Enemies – This will cover several chapters of the book. Hero will be tested, will meet allies, cross paths with enemies, maybe even be betrayed and fall in love. Hero will win some, lose some, but hero is learning, figuring things out, gaining strength, while getting deeper and deeper into trouble. And all the while the bad thing is looming, plucking at Hero, digging at Hero’s fears and needs. Until Hero MUST do something about that bad thing.
7. Approach – Hero and allies have a plan to handle this bad thing and save the day. Their plan stinks. Sure, some of it worked, but there are consequences that they couldn’t have foreseen. For one thing, that jerk of a villain is still alive.
8. Darkest Moment – Hero has failed. Maybe friends die, or seem to be dead. Maybe the wrong wire was cut. But here it is, the big SUCKS TO BE HERO moment. Is there any way out of this maze? Is it worth it? Will Hero keep fighting?
9. Reward – Of course Hero keeps fighting! Hero gains strength, or is clever, or discovers allies are there to fight with Hero. Hero discovers that Hero can overcome some of that fear and still keep his/her eye on the prize to gain (or keep safe) Hero’s need.  Hero even steals the sacred statue, releases the princess from jail, or sends off the coded information.
10. Road Back – Cue the chase scene, the ticking time bomb, the do-or-die moments. The last, miraculous acts of cleverness, twists, turns and final confrontation with that jerk villain. Hero escapes, saves, smuggles, kills, solves. Hero heros all over the darn place.
11. Resurrection – But not all of Hero’s problems are solved. Still, Hero now has the magic item, the knowledge, the captive, the success.  Hero has returned these things to their rightful places and has conquered fear and need. Maybe broken, maybe bloody, Hero holds his/her head up high and knows he/she has sacrificed much, but gained even more from the adventure.
12. Return with the Elixir – Hero receives praise, medals, promotion, crowns. Hero kisses the love-interest and hey, maybe gets a day off to hang with friends. Hero has changed from his/her adventure, and perhaps so has Hero’s ordinary world. Maybe these changes are for the better, maybe for the worse.
I sit down with a pencil and legal pad, and number the page 1-12, then jot down ideas for each of these steps in the novel.  I never get them fully filled out before I’m stuck for what to do next.

So I go through the 1-12 Hero’s Journey from the villain’s point of view. It is sort of an Anti-Hero’s Journey, and I only use 10 steps, but much of it maps the same. In brief:

1. Villain Ordinary World
2. Villain Aware of Meddling Hero
3. Villain Ignores Meddling Hero
4. Villain Has No Choice But to Deal with Hero
5. Sets Sights on Getting Rid of Pesky Hero
6. Throws Minions, Allies, Enemies at Hero
7. Smacks Down Hero = Villain’s Brightest Moment
8. Hero Rises = Villain’s Darkest Moment
9. Villain Pulls Out All Stops To Destroy Hero – Clever Villain is Really Clever
10. Final Confrontation = Villain Loses, or Escapes to Evil Another Day

Villains are great resources for plotting bits, and as long as you know what your Villain most fears and needs (hint, hint) you will know just what that crafty villain is willing to do to stop Hero from getting in the way of Villain’s fears and needs and plans. Then you can plot that evil! Plot it!

*Glances up* You’re still here?  Wow.  Okay.  So to finish it off, there are two more things I do:

1. I jot down my Hero/Villain’s Journey across 20 chapters.  Of course, when I’m writing the novel, I’ll probably have more than 20 chapters (sometimes less). But with a limited amount of chapters I can start filling in the plot bits. Nothing fancy. A line or two of what might happen works.

Do I fill in details for every one of the 20 chapters? No. Not always. Mostly, I need some scenes from the beginning (ordinary world/call to adventure), a couple in the middle (allies, enemies, darkest moment) and a few at the end (chase scene or ticking time bomb, return with the elixir.)

By this time, the story is finally taking shape in my mind. I know my Hero, I know my Villain, I know my Important Characters. I know what’s at stake.  Now all I need is….

2. The End.  Yup. For every novel I’ve written, I’ve always known how it was going to end. In my opinion, it’s hard to write toward something when you have no idea what that “something” is. Even a basic idea: “happily ever after” or “beaten but not down” or “coffee by the grave” gives me something to shoot for.  If the ending echoes with the beginning and resonates with Hero’s needs and fears, kudos!  That makes for darn good reading.

And then, well, once I know the end….I can begin.


**To read more on the Hero’s Journey: The Hero With a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell

Also: The Writer’s Journey by Chistopher Vogler



Mirrored from Devon Monk.

Speed Giveaway! – Closed

Giveaway is over.  The books are claimed!  Thanks for playing, everyone!

Happy reading!!

The first two (2) people to comment, win a signed mass market copy of TIN SWIFT.

Good luck, speedy fingers!

tin swift pocket size 2


Mirrored from Devon Monk.

Winners – Tin Swift!


There are now 2 (two) unclaimed copies of TIN SWIFT that I will be giving away here on my blog in a first-comments, first-wins speed giveaway around 3:00 PST.  I will post a NEW BLOG ENTRY titled: SPEED GIVEAWAY and the first two people to comment on *that* post will win the books.

Big thank you to everyone who entered this giveaway!  I loved all your comments, and can assure you that the pumpkin pie actually was good with a little chili powder in it–but only a little! I added extra cinnamon and a bit of sugar to balance it out and it was delicious!

Now…the random number generator has spoken and the winners of a signed, mass market TIN SWIFT are:

  • mneme - who said: Comment! Those are lovely looking pies! I’m very fond of adding chili pepper derivatives to sweet things, and think it’s totally underrated as a technique.
  • Jennifer Hill - who said: Love your steampunk series–have already read it twice am eagerly awaiting more installments! :)
  • Readsalot81 – who said: LOL I’m tempted to try that with the pumpkin pie! I like zip. I know The Blacklist isn’t that great of a show, but I’m a James Spader fan. He can pretty much do anything and I will watch everytime. The ending left some things up in the air (as you knew they would!) :D
  • rissatoo – who said: I think I have to try a chili powder pumpkin pie next time I bake them – the idea completely intrigues me! ;)
  • miki – who said: a good enders for a series? no not yet this yeari saw the last episode of the first season of “the killing” and i was so SO disappointed i’m not sure i will follow up it next time your pies made me hungry just by the pictures^^
  • Preethi - who said: I’m a very bad cook, but man, those pies look mouthwatering! I have read the first book- Dead Iron in your Age of Steam series, and I loved it. Interesting characters- I loved the Madder brothers, especially. I’ll have to read the second book, though. Soon. Thank you for giving us the chance to win:)
  • Andreea – who said: I loved the first book in the series so this would be a lovely gift. Thank you for the opportunity!
  • Sabrina – who said: Pumpkin spice pie and Supernatural sounds great! Im a long time Supernatural fan, and a Jensen Ackles fan since Dark Angel. I hope I didnt just show my age there. :P Thanks for making my TBR pile even larger. :D
  • Theresa Summers – who said: Pies or books, almost a tough choice.
  • Susan – who said: I really enjoyed reading Cold Copper, and I’m looking forward to reading Tin Swift.
  • jeff lageson – who said: I have a friend having a steampunk wedding. Would love to add this to the basket.

Congrats, winners! Please send me your mailing address by clicking on the little envelope button right there on the upper right of the blog page. If I don’t hear from winners by next Tuesday, I’ll do a speed giveaway.

Happy reading, everyone, and stay tuned–there are more giveaways to come!

tin swift pocket size 2



Mirrored from Devon Monk.

Tin Swift Giveaway

magic on the hunt

Delicious Failure

Today is not Tuesday. It is Wednesday. I am blogging, which means I broke my blog-every-Tuesday streak.  Why did I break the streak? Well, instead of blogging, I baked pies for our watch party of the season finale of Supernatural.

Here are the pies:

Bring me some pie

That’s chocolate cream, cherry, pumpkin, blackberry/raspberry crumble and rum caramel banana cream.

Since I am a bit deadline foggy-brained, I was a little distracted when I was baking.

Did you know that chili powder sprinkled in a pumpkin pie instead of cinnamon adds a bit of zip to the pie, and can be totally drowned out by whipped cream? Not that I would, you know, accidentally pour chili powder in the pie instead of cinnamon. *cough-totallydid-cough*

We had a great time watching the season ender of the show despite the pies of doom. I’ve enjoyed Supernatural this year and am looking forward to what they’ll do next year for their tenth (wow!) season.


TIN SWIFT (book #2 in the Age of Steam series) is being released June 3rd in the smaller (cheaper!) mass market paperback format. I am so excited!

To celebrate,  I’m giving away ten (10) signed copies!

tin swift pocket size 2

Just leave a comment here on the blog and I will choose ten winners on Tuesday, May 27th.

Winners will have one week (until June 3rd) to contact me via the little email button on my blog with their mailing address.

If winners don’t contact me, I will do a speed giveaway first-comments-first-wins of the remaining books Tuesday June 3rd, probably in the late afternoon PST.

I will mail international.

So, how about you? Have you seen any good season enders this year?

Mirrored from Devon Monk.

Age of Steam series

magic on the hunt

Over the last year or so, readers have asked me if I’m going to finish the Age of Steam steampunk series.  As it stands now, there are three novels and one short story in the series, um…in this order:


1.5. HANG FIRE (short story, Kindle only at this point)



If you’ve read these novels, you know there is an almost-guaranteed plot for 7 books, what with all the bits of that pesky world-destroying device our heroes need to find. At the end of Cold Copper, things really take a turn toward the interesting. There is certainly more story to tell.

So where is book #4?

When I pitched DEAD IRON, I was contracted for two books, releasing on a once-a-year schedule. At that time, I was also writing two-books-a-year in the Allie Beckstrom series.

The Age of Steam books take a bit of research, and I prefer a little slower writing pace when I’m putting them together. Nonetheless, I happily wrote these books in between the Allie books with a love and passion that I hope shows on the page.

These characters are important to me. Fun to be around. Ornery. I love them like the dickens.

But by the time we were negotiating the single-book contract for book #3, the market for steampunk had shifted fairly drastically, and sales were not climbing. My editor and publisher still believed in the series, and so did I, so we found a way to get Cold Copper into the hands of readers.

My publisher didn’t cancel the series. As a matter of fact, they have dibs on seeing the next book in the series when I write it.

That’s right: when.

There are four more books in this series. I plan to write them.  Some of you have gone out of your way to tell me how much you’ve enjoyed the trouble Cedar, Mae, Hink, Rose, Wil and those wily Madder brothers get themselves into. I can’t tell you how much those comments have meant to me.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I have the best readers in the world!

The “how” of writing another steampunk book is another question. Right now, I’m writing book #3 in the House Immortal series–a new trilogy with books coming out this September, next March, then September again.  I am also finishing off proofs for book #1, and have revisions for book #2 right around the corner. Then there will be revisions for book #3, copy edits for books #2 & #3, more proofs, etc., etc..

So this year is out for writing another book.

My hope (and at this point, it’s a hope not a promise) is that I can write the next steampunk in 2015. Where it will be published, how it will be published, and when it will be published is very much up in the air.

But I will keep all of you in the loop as the adventure unfolds.

Age of Steam 1-3-horz

Mirrored from Devon Monk.

Random updates x 3

magic on the hunt

House Immortal.inddWriting: If you’ve been following along, you know that copy edits for HOUSE IMMORTAL were due last Wednesday. I tore through the entire book in Word, marking and changing as I went, and then I printed the book out and read through it a second time, hand-marking changes, which I then input into the document.

I am happy to say that I turned the copy edits in on time! Yay!  This is the book that will come out in September. Since it is the start of a new series, I am both excited and nervous about it.

HOUSE IMMORTAL is lighter in tone than the Broken Magic series. I think it leans closer to the tone of the Allie Beckstrom books, but with a quirky sort of slant to it. It’s been great fun to write, and I sure hope readers will enjoy it.

I am currently outlining/scene sketching book #3 in the trilogy. Tomorrow, I’ll dive in and start writing even if I’m unsure of exactly where I’m headed.  Deadlines, people. Deadlines.

Other stuff: The garden is in, although I had to replant zucchini and carrots. I still need to put in garlic and potatoes, and probably spinach, but there’s still time for that. I have also sprayed  ten gallons of weed killer around the edges of the yard to combat the ivy and blackberries. Not sure that it did much good…I see another round of poison and a machete in my future.

We’re doing a home-improvement project that has me sorting through a lot of junk and clutter in the basement. I love having a cleaner more organized space, but man, it takes some time and effort to get through all the sorting, throwing, and recycling. By the end of the project (which will likely take months) we’re hoping for a fully organized, functional basement.

Random Crafting: Speaking of organizing…Sunday, I threw together a jewelry holder in about an hour using the old frame from our bathroom vanity, a spare lace curtain, some paint, string and a staple gun. Really easy, pretty cute, and a good way to keep the tangles outta my bangles.  Plus it turned out to be a fine little organization project using the things we already had on hand. *win*

lace frame


Mirrored from Devon Monk.

Done/Not Done

magic on the hunt

house immortal

Last week when I checked in, I mentioned I’d be plowing through copy edits for HOUSE IMMORTAL all week.  Well, I was right. About an hour ago, I finished going through the entire book. Since copy edits aren’t due until tomorrow, I’ve printed the book and am going to give it a quick read to see if the changes I made make sense.

Remember, this is my last chance to really change anything on a large scale, so I want it to be as good as it can be.

Then I’ll write up the Acknowledgement and Dedication and send it all back to my editor.

What will I be up to next? Book #3 in the House Immortal series is due in September, and I’m just beginning to put notes together for the structure of the story. While I’m waiting for the revision notes for Book #2 (INFINITY BELL) I’ll outline book #3, leaving enough wiggle room for the inevitable changes that will take place during Book #2′s revisions.

That’s one of the things about writing a series with installments released every six months–you end up plucking a lot of strings that set off echoes in future books. Heck, I changed some things in the copy edits of HOUSE IMMORTAL (book #1) because of how INFINITY BELL (book#2) came together.

In other news, I want to thank all you awesome readers who picked up STONE COLD! Thank you for hanging out with Shame and Terric, as they tried to get their messy lives (and deaths) together. ;)

Oh, and another big thank you goes out to readers who left a review for the book, mentioned it online or encouraged a friend to give it a try. You all rock.

Until next Tuesday*: read well, be well!

*Remember: If you have any questions, or something you’d like me to blog about, just leave a comment.

Mirrored from Devon Monk.

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