Cover Reveal: Steadfast by Michelle Hauck

I’m so excited to share the cover of this amazing book! But first, let’s have a few words from the author herself:

It all starts, of course, with getting hit with the writing bug. You have an idea for a story. You bravely sit down and write it. You learn that you don’t know how to write quite yet and you begin to gather experience plucked from other writers farther down the road.

A manuscript or four later your craft has improved enough to land an agent. Your brilliant story goes out to the scary land of editors and may or may not sell. But you persist. You write other stories if the first one fails. And eventually you make your first sale for, say, three books.

Now you are faced with the scary fact that you need to write your first sequel and carry on a story line. You get the wonderful news that the characters you adore will live on. At the same time, you are full of anxiety that a sequel is a daunting thing and you’ve never tried one before. Bravely you forge forward and write a sequel that meets your editor’s approval.

A new first appears now that you conquered the other challenge. You now have to write the ending book of a series. You have to take all the characters and all the obstacles you created and bring them to, not just an end, but a highly exciting end. Once again you doubt your talent and ability. You plunge forward nonetheless. And you succeed.

Cover reveals. Release days. Publishers Marketplace announcements. All those days are great days, but they are blips on the actual journey. The true test is the challenge you meet everyday to go out and do what scares you because you might fail– and see yourself instead succeed.

So a cover reveal is not so much a celebration of art as it is a celebration of spirit. Another test passed. Another doubt proved groundless. A forging forward on the journey of you, whether you are a writer or something else.

Proof I climb this mountain in the form of a third cover for my Birth of Saints series. Thank you for being a witness and may you climb your mountains.

Do what scares you my friends and face those challenges.

Against an angry god whose only desire is to wipe out all life, what hope is there to survive?

The army from the north has left a trail of burned and captured cities. In trying to stop them, Claire and Ramiro unleashed the northern god, Dal, but now they face two monstrosities and no amount of honor or hope can stop the killing as Dal grows in power.

Searching for a miracle, Claire finds the elders of the Women of the Song, who might teach her a thing or two about using her voice magic to fight back—if they can put aside their own problems first—while Ramiro searches for truth in his dreams, leading him to the northern priestess Santabe, the only one who could share her knowledge of Dal and the mysterious magical Diviners.

Claire must unite the Women of the Song in the face of utter destruction, and Ramiro must decide how far he will go to get the answers he needs to defeat the rampaging god.

It will take nothing less than a saint to rise and face the leviathan before they all become martyrs. (unofficial blurb)

Steadfast releases December 5, 2017

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Goodreads

Enter Giveaways to Win Signed Copies of the First Two Books in the Series:

A world of chivalry and witchcraft…and the invaders who would destroy everything.

The North has invaded, bringing a cruel religion and no mercy. The ciudades-estados who have stood in their way have been razed to nothing, and now the horde is before the gates of Colina Hermosa…demanding blood.

On a mission of desperation, a small group escapes the besieged city in search of the one thing that might stem the tide of Northerners: the witches of the southern swamps.

The Women of the Song.

But when tragedy strikes their negotiations, all that is left is a single untried knight and a witch who has never given voice to her power. And time is running out.

A lyrical tale of honor and magic, Grudging is the opening salvo in the Book of Saints trilogy.

Enter to Win a Signed Copy of Book One, Grudging, Here.

 

A world of Fear and death…and those trying to save it.

Colina Hermosa has burned to the ground. The Northern invaders continue their assault on the ciudades-estados. Terror has taken hold, and those that should be allies betray each other in hopes of their own survival. As the realities of this devastating and unprovoked war settles in, what can they do to fight back?

On a mission of hope, an unlikely group sets out to find a teacher for Claire, and a new weapon to use against the Northerners and their swelling army.

What they find instead is an old woman.

But she’s not a random crone—she’s Claire’s grandmother. She’s also a Woman of the Song, and her music is both strong and horrible. And while Claire has already seen the power of her own Song, she is scared of her inability to control it, having seen how her magic has brought evil to the world, killing without reason or remorse. To preserve a life of honor and light, Ramiro and Claire will need to convince the old woman to teach them a way so that the power of the Song can be used for good. Otherwise, they’ll just be destroyers themselves, no better than the Northerners and their false god, Dal. With the annihilation their enemy has planned, though, they may not have a choice.

A tale of fear and tragedy, hope and redemption, Faithful is the harrowing second entry in the Birth of Saints trilogy.

Enter to Win a Signed Copy of Book Two, Faithful, Here.

About the Author:

Michelle Hauck lives in the bustling metropolis of northern Indiana with her hubby and two college-going kids. Besides working with special needs children by day, she writes all sorts of fantasy, giving her imagination free range. She is a co-host of the yearly contests Query Kombat, Nightmare on Query Street, Picture Book Party, and Sun versus Snow. Her Birth of Saints trilogy, starting with Grudging (November 17, 2015) and Faithful (November 15, 2016) and Steadfast (December 2017)  is published by Harper Voyager. Another epic fantasy, Kindar’s Cure, is published by Divertir Publishing. Find her on twitter at @Michelle4Laughs or at her blog.

2017 Pitch Wars Intro!

Hello Pitch Wars hopefuls! Before you go browsing for my genre: I’m already working with my lovely mentee from TeenPit, so I will not be accepting slush in PW 2017. (Though perhaps you might find a piece of the scavenger hunt here!) I’ll also be hopping around the hashtag, and am more than happy to answer Pitch Wars questions! I was a mentee in 2014, 2015, and was in quite a few other contests, so I’ve been around the block. (Evidence here.) If you have any questions you don’t quite want to ask a mentor you might sub, or anything for a veteran to answer, hit me up here, on Twitter, anywhere.

I’ve been a writer for many years, written too many books, and way too many short stories. I work primarily in fantasy, mostly of the YA variety. Give me dragons and diversity any day of the week! My two favorite authors (who can ever pick one?) are Laini Taylor and Diana Wynne Jones, and you’ll find a lot of their influence in my work. As I mentioned above, I’ve been through the wringer with contests and agents and writing in general, so it’s still a little surreal to say I’m agented by my amazing agent, Samantha Wekstein of Writers House, and that I have a graphic novel out, Sacrifices of Shadow. Having come so far, being able to give back to the community as a mentor is living the dream! Especially my experience as a mentor in TeenPit, and getting to continue mentoring Sophia into PW. If you’re curious about her novel, here’s the pitch from her entry, a YA fantasy:

Scout enrolls in demon hunting school for one reason: to destroy the devil that killed her. But her second life is cursed. Part of the devil is inside her, keeping her alive, and it wants to wreak havoc. To save the world – and her new love – Scout must destroy the devil, but if it dies, so will she.

Sophia’s a Vietnamese American writer who was adopted when she was just a baby. She’s enrolled at an early entrance to college program but is still technically a high schooler. Upon graduating she’ll receive her high school diploma plus an associate’s degree so she spends most of her time writing on breaks. She writes really weird dark fantasy and A Pool of Dead Butterflies is her fifth novel!

She’s been hard at work with some pretty heavy revisions, and is taking the new direction (blue) with more enthusiasm and talent than I ever would have dreamed. Seriously, I can’t wait for the world to be able to read her book!

Now that I’m done rambling, here’s a link to all the wishlists if you want to check them out!

Good luck in your Pitch Wars stalking, hopefuls! You’ve got this!!! And like I said, if you have any questions, feel free to hurl them at me.

Bacon, out.

Weekend WIP: A Little Bit of Broadtrip

Since I’m jumping back into drafting, when I saw the #8sunday bloghop on Weekend Writing Warriors (check out the rest of the authors on the hop!), it seemed like perfect motivation to keep me going. I’ll be posting a few sentences from whatever I’m working on to keep me accountable, and show you guys what I’m up to.

This week, here’s the opening sentences to Broadtrip (bro-roadtip or broad-trip, either words–and yes, it needs a better name):

People always warn not to get involved with wild serpents.

Thing is, those people have obviously never met me.

A black streak floats lazily in the distance, a serpent sunning itself. I’ve never seen a black serpent. The serpents at home range from all sorts of blues and greens — like mine, Nuci, pale green scales with deep blue stripes — and wild ones are sometimes paler, the color of sand and seafoam. But never black.

Which means I have to have it.

I pat Nuci’s side twice, and they slide quietly down into the water, me clinging tight to their back. The thing with wild serpents is that they will always see you coming from the side. It took about a dozen attempts to find their weakness — not like I’ve ever really succeeded in getting on one, per say, but this time is going to be different.

So, what do you think? What are you working on this weekend—writing or otherwise? If you have your own excerpt, feel free to share so I can check it out!

Bacon, out.

Knowledgeable

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My brain can beat out an encyclopedia.

But I can’t beat out you.

It’s not that you’re better than me, really. I can ask any question that comes into my mind and you only know the answers to a fraction of them. Normally I’d consider that a win on my case, but not today. Not staring into your dark eyes, your gaze shaking my very bones as you take me in.

The fact is you know things that I could never comprehend. Things I didn’t even know existed. I feel like all the knowledge I have is so small, meaningless, useless.

I can’t be certain though.

Nothing in this universe can be certain anymore. There’s no reading your mind like you might be able to read mine. You destroyed who I am as a person. Every single tick and habit I have is changing, mutating. Your existence cancels out mine. I don’t know how much longer I’ll survive.

After all, who can expect to know how long one will live during an alien abduction?

{x}

 

Prepared

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“Prepared” is what they said I was. They couldn’t train me any more for this moment than they already had.

I’m calling bull.

Princesses are supposed to be captured by dragons. Not disgusting, smelly, mechanical ogres. Uhg.

“Princess,” one creaks, reaching a hand out toward me.  “This can either be easy or hard, you —”

I kick out a leg, jamming it into their arm and sending them flat onto the ground.

“That was totally unfair and mean of you to kidnap me.” I cross my arms. “Apologize. Or else.”Read More »

Silver

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“Silver doesn’t kill werewolves, they’re allergic it.” I sigh and lean against the counter. Same spiel, different day.

“Young man, I will have you know that I’ve killed two dozen werewolves with silver.” The tiny little old lady waves her silver-tipped parasol in my face.

I eye the tip, going slightly cross-eyed before shaking my head and re-focusing. “And they got all puffy when they died?”

“Of course they did!” She old crone’s voice reaches a pitch I’m surprised hasn’t cracked the jars lining my shelves. “It’s a part of the process! Not simple allergies. I guarantee you I’ve seen more of their dead bodies than you have, boy.”

“It is a part of the process, yes.” The allergic reaction process. I suppose it does commonly end in their death, but I’ve met a couple of werewolves that are immune. It isn’t true magic, like the transformation process itself.

I gently slide a paper bag across the corner toward her. “Will silver bullets be all you need today?”

Read More »

Companion

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Working together as enemies was actually pretty sweet. Who gives a crap if we argued our heads off, had a few fights, broke each other’s bones?

Well, breaking each other’s bones was actually kinda counterproductive to escape, so.

“What the hell are you doing, pickle-head?” Chrissy tosses a wrench at my head, and I barely dodge in time, reaching out a hand and catching it before it tumbles into the dark abyss. Which would’ve created a racket large enough to draw the entire army of douches that captured us in the first place to our location.

“We’ve spent a month formulating and executing this stupid plan, you’d think you’d know not to be an idiot, idiot.” I mutter, taking our hard-earned wrench and starting work on my side of the metal panel. Being a cyborg comes in handy at times like this—mechanical arms are awesome for things like tough bolts that won’t budge, heroic acts, and vigilante antics that normally involve the girl next to me with her metal legs ruining my day.

Sadly, the advanced machinery is the exact reason I was kidnapped for testing with my arch nemesis.

I chuck the wrench back at her, understanding why she threw it at me in the first place. Maybe if we both got re-captured of killed it’d be good in the long run. One of the most cunning, mysterious villains would be off the street, and I’d just be an unfortunate casualty.Read More »

Flame

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It seemed like a good deal at the time.

Now, staring the heart-thief in the face… not so much.

The train’s rattling travels through the soles of my shoes, hiding my shaking as he regards me with black eyes, just barely glaring out from under his obsidian bangs. He’s just a legend outside of this train car, just a rumor.

It hasn’t been long that there’s been a need for someone like him. After all, stealing hearts was the ultimate punishment for criminals, a way to sap their emotions from them, bring their existence to that of a slave to serve the public they once wronged.

When innocent people started getting convicted, that’s when heads started turning. Heaven forbid you said something, though, or you’d be the next one standing trial.

Rebellions rose and fell. But the heart-thief—who had managed to steal the heart-thieving magic or science or whatever it was—was the vigilante who brought hope to the public. He managed to work with local groups to capture the country’s most notorious officials and give them a taste of their own medicine.

He’s a hero, a tale whispered to children at night, a cautionary tale to those with too much power.

But I know better.Read More »

Haze

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The clock was ticking too slow. Not ticking slow in the time-was-taking-too-long-to-move sort of way, but more in a that-minute-hand-was-moving-way-too-slow. You were sure you weren’t crazy… but time moving too slow was a crazy concept in itself.

So you stood in front of your little hearth clock, listening the how it didn’t match the grandfather clock’s ticking in your hallway, and staring at it as if looking long enough would magically have made it catch up to the other. You thought you’d fixed it yesterday, but no. Time simply insisted to move slower in that room, it seemed.

With a sigh, you reached out and picked up the hearth clock and turned toward the door. You glared at the hot, humid haze outside, and wondered if it was worth braving. It was just a clock after all.

A clock that was driving you out of your tiny little brains.

You took the door handle before you could question yourself any longer, and opened it to a what felt like a solid wall of humidity. Not bothering to take a breath of the thick air, you stepped out onto the sidewalk, locked your house up, and set off.

The sun glared into your eyes, nearly blinding you.

At least, that’s what you blamed when you were pretty sure you saw you see a girl walk by you with a feathered wig and antlers sprouted from her head.

Read More »

Snowflake

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I pierce into the night sky, breaking though the thick clouds.

Finally. Freedom. I spread my limbs, the icy air freezing my fingertips, ripping the feathers from my wings.

I was a beautifully made creation, but my wings are not meant for flying through the air.

I take a big breath of the crisp air into my lungs, enjoying the feeling. Feeling. I haven’t enjoyed the sensation in so long. And I need this, I need to take a break. The universe can do without me for a little while. The weight of the worlds get heavy after a few centuries.

A city’s light breaks through the snowfall around me, a haze at first, then an explosion. Colors flash and sparkle in the ice and snow, the entire city a daze of a Christmas tree.

For it being the dead of night, the city’s alive. People and cars move constantly through the maze of streets and alleys. I want to take it inside me, feel the movement and the life.

Chase out the emptiness.Read More »