Five Thousand Words’ Worth of Feels

Once upon a time – specifically, on the day I was scheduled to hop a 10-hour flight from Chicago to Amsterdam – I was granted a blessed distraction from my stressful morning full of last-minute packing (and repacking) by a message from friend/fan Jay Cottle. To paraphrase said message:

I’ve read “The Story’s End”, and I have FEELINGS!

As the book’s author, those words alone would have been enough to brighten my heart. But then – THEN – I realized that I was also looking at a series sketches inspired by the book, which caused my insides to go something like:

I’m looking at fan art, and I have FEELINGS!

‘Cause I don’t know about authors in general, but my definition of success prominently features fan art. *starry-eyed smile*

So here we are a month later, with my European river cruise behind me, my 2015 NaNoWriMo won, and me about as settled in Germany as I’m probably going to be before briefly returning to the States. Sounds like the perfect time to finally show you guys Jay’s “Story’s End” pics! #Behold


Jay Cottle ''Story's End'' Art 1


Jay Cottle ''Story's End'' Art 2


Jay Cottle ''Story's End'' Art 3


Jay Cottle ''Story's End'' Art 4


Jay Cottle ''Story's End'' Art 5



If you’ve read the novella, you’ve probably got a pretty good grasp of everything going on in these images. If you haven’t read it – if, indeed, you haven’t even purchased it yet – good news: That is easily remedied!

Big thanks for the Wilderhark love, Jay! And anytime anyone else wants to throw some Deshipley story-related art my way, know that I will be more than happy to receive it. ^_^

Open Journal: Everyday Magic

[Note: My brain’s still not decompressed enough to try conveying the experience of my European river cruise in a blog post. But I’m more-or-less settled in Germany now, and it’s a stage of life I’ll want taken down for posterity. So here’s a glimpse into my day-before-yesterday.]


Walked out to the forest with some Stranger Than True friends in the hope of maybe getting some highly important, “Outlaws of Avalon”-related photos.

We didn’t find the shots I wanted.

Instead, we found magic.

Lots of little everyday magic.

The way the early-fading light hit things.

The many-shaded piles of clouds.

The snow-globe fall of hail, fine as salt.

The rise of smoke like fire-mist from a chimney.

Moss and wood and leaves and stone and stair railings.

A painted sun on an old barn door.

The blue, blue sky reflected in a window.

Shiny glass panes billowing like bubbles waiting to be.

The dance of a willow.

Puddles on the cobbles.

The smell of old rain.

Unexpected incense in the exhaust of a passing car.

Will Scarlet, every few steps: “Stop. Look at that. Wow.”

“Guys. I’m GLAD.”

His heart was worship, and mine was right there with him –

glorying, in wonder at all around and within me.

A fruitless walk, perhaps, but in no wise a wasted one.

(Pictured above = The post-walk view from my window and balcony. Not pictured here = The brilliant moon that rose soon after. #ISeeYou)

A Little Kick on the Side

I’m not actually here! I’m still cruising Europe!

…Which would account for why I forgot I’d signed on to be a part of yesterday’s Release Day Blast for author Natalie Whipple’s latest. *cough*

But by God’s grace, I remembered that today’s my stop on the book’s blog tour. So real quick before I get back to exploring abroad (recaps on the whole adventure to come eventually), here’s what’s up:

Sidekick Banner

The Book: “Sidekick” by Natalie Whipple

Genre: Contemporary YA

Blurb: Russ is a high school football player who feels like he always comes in second to his best friend, Garret. In sports. In school. With girls. Well, he’s tired of it, and he gets the rather foolish idea that if he can win the heart of the new girl in town before Garret he can prove he’s not just sloppy seconds.

His plan? Use his anime-obsessed sister’s group, who has befriended the new girl, to get closer to her. He’d never tell the team, but he’s been going to Anime Night for years and might even enjoy it. That would ruin his reputation, just like his secret love for cooking and James Taylor.

But pretending to be something you aren’t catches up to you eventually, and Russ can only get away with living two lives for so long. As more than one person reveals they have something to hide, Russ must figure out what and who he really wants in his life. And more than that, he needs the courage to make it happen.

Sidekick Cover

My Thoughts: One thing I really appreciate about Natalie Whipple books is that I have yet to see her put her protagonists in a vacuum. There’s always a group of friends and/or family around to create an authentic, eclectic social environment. It makes reading the story feel a lot like just hanging out with the gang. And this may well be my favorite Whipple-written gang to date – which is why the possibility of the main character fumbling his relationships beyond all hope of a happy ever after felt like such painfully high stakes.

Jealousies, deceptions, and high school politics served as a foil against Russ Pearson’s desire to just get through his senior year without feeling like a loser, come in second place to his best friend. His situation got complicated, but it was no manufactured drama. Just motivated actions, reactions, and consequences – lather, rinse, repeat. Were some of those actions at the top of the cycle ill-advised? Absolutely. But I got it. I got Russ. And I rooted for him like crazy. Plus, much as he tried to downplay it, experiencing his culinary passion added to the story’s homey flavor (pun half-intended).

I received an ARC of “Sidekick” in exchange for an honest review, and it was a genuine pleasure to read.

Purchase links for “Sidekick”Amazon | B&N | The Book Depository

Purchase a signed copy from the author here!

Natalie Whipple

About the Author: Natalie Whipple grew up in the Bay Area and relocated to Utah for high school, which was quite the culture shock for her anime-loving teen self. But the Rocky Mountains eventually won her over, and she stuck around to earn her degree in English linguistics at BYU, with a minor in editing. Natalie still lives in Utah with her husband and three kids, and keeps the local Asian market in business with all her attempts to cook.

She is the author of the TRANSPARENT series, HOUSE OF IVY & SORROW, the I’M A NINJA series, FISH OUT OF WATER, and MY LITTLE BRONY (under K.M. Hayes). In addition to that, she is on the writing team for the cRPG Torment: Tides of Numenera that should be out sometime in 2015.







And guess what? There’s a giveaway! Enter to win a Kindle e-copy of “Sidekick”! (Open internationally)

Deshipley, over and out.

Open Journal: #WilderharkParty Recap

The Vent

Transparency. People supposedly like that in an author/artist/celebrity, right? ‘Cause it makes them come off as relatable or human or some such thing.

I don’t know. I can’t think why anyone would really want me to be transparent. What good would it do them to know how I really feel the majority of the time? The truth would sound an awful lot like whining/grousing/b*tching, and there’s already more than enough of that in the world. I don’t want to hear it from anyone else, so why would I foist it upon my public?

But this is an Open Journal post, meaning I’ll come closer to telling the whole truth, instead of just the bits I can deliver with a pleasant smile.

Behind the smile.

Behind the smile.

So. My launch/farewell party for The Wilderhark Tales.

I put a lot of time into planning it. Came up with a variety of content to try to keep guests engaged – games, read-aloud videos, topics of discussion. Worked hard on making the prizes – from fighting a charm onto a chain for a necklace, to formatting and printing pages for a wall calendar. I personally invited all my Facebook friends, and threw the link up in a couple of Facebook groups, and talked the party up on Twitter live, during those five straight days of all-day, upbeat, smile-with-exclamation-points socializing.

I wore. Myself. Out.

Me for five days.

Me for five days.

And I had about five regular guests.

Out of the thirty-ish who said they’d come. Out of the hundreds I invited.

A handful more poked their heads in, on rare occasion. But it was mostly just those stalwart five. And I appreciated their presence.

But transparently? It was nothing like what I wanted.

Other authors – not realer, not better, just not me – get parties and signings and readings in bookstores. That is what I wanted. That is what I tried for months (years?) in advance to get. Y’know what happens when I contact bookstores? I show up in person, and the person to talk to isn’t there. I send them an e-mail, and the e-mail goes forever unanswered. Basically, it’s the same thing that happens just about any time I have to rely on other people for a thing to get done: It doesn’t.

So, yeah. Behind the scenes of the only party I could make happen for myself, I was privately miserable. In between moments of painful excitement when it looked like people might actually be interested in what I was trying to give them. My heart jerked up and down, up and downer, up and downest, all day for five days. I sighed a lot. I cried surprisingly little. By the last day, I kind of got numb. I just wanted it to be over. To not have to care anymore. Since all but five-ish people didn’t.

No I won’t.

No I won’t.

I could start getting really angry now, but it’s not worth it. Instead, let’s cut to a song that pretty much encapsulates how I felt throughout most of the party. (Credit to my sisters, one of whom stopped by a couple times to troll the party. Thanks, Di.)

We ain’t got no money
We ain’t got no friends
Roll up in a Caravan cuz we ain’t got no Benz
We just lost the lotto
We behind on all the trends
But we gon’ keep on rappin’ even though we got no fans (leggo!)

Yo. We out on the floor
We in this heezy all alone
All we wanna do is be successful in our craft
So it’d be nice if we had some support

Don’t worry. I gon’ keep on rappin’ regardless.

For better or worse, I can’t seem to help myself.

The [E]vent

In an effort to go against my personal grain and focus on the positive, here are some of my favorite moments from the party.

– The shameless ogling of Welken lookalikes

– Ionquin Wyle utilizing the phrase “Netflix and chill”

Tirzah’s flawless “Sun’s Rival” selfie

Tirzah's ''Sun's Rival'' Selfie

– The utter adoration from every quarter for Lumónd #TheySeeHim <3

– The straight-up prettiness of the graphics for the “Words of Welken Translation Game” *pats self on back*

Welken Words, sample

– The fact that I was given cause to look at a side-by-side pic of Edgwyn Wyle and “Once Upon a Time”s Rumplestiltskin

– Me: “Discuss! The Anarchwitch has appeared in a lot of guises, over the course of the series. How do /you/ tend to envision her? What do you suppose she /really/ looks like?”

My sister: “Never heard of her, but I would guess she wears a jacket like this” *posts pic of an anorak jacket*

– When ‘twas agreed that Ruban was the side character MVP (not counting Jeromey Gant, ‘cause hello)

– When Tirzah jumped in with a brand new piece of Gant-o’-the-Lute fan art

Sunrise Lute 2

– Clem


– Maritime legumes

Maritime Legumes

– Tirzah puns

Tirzah Puns

– All the incredibly nice, sometimes profound things my dedicated guests said about The Wilderhark Tales and the people therein … like my little books have deeply impacted their lives or something

The work I do may be for too little. But it is not for nothing.

Godspeed, Wilderhark. And I’ll see ya when I see ya, Ever On Word blog, but for now, I’m Europe-bound. Let the sorta-kinda-hiatus begin!

Word Things That Are Happening and Involve Me

So, my name’s on the cover of another book, coming… any day now, I expect.

Ponahakeola Press had a call for ghostly short stories/poems, I had an old piece lying around that I thought might suit, so I sent it in, and many moons later, I’m told that I’m in and the anthology is about ready to go.

Revenant's Caress cover

So any o’ y’all who equate “October” with “read spooky stuff”, here’s one for you.

(Edit, 10/27 = First of the sales links here; yay, CreateSpace!

Edit, 10/28 = Now available on Kindle, too!)


My name is also attached to a Kickstarter campaign.

Screen-cap from Day 1 of the campaign.

Screen-cap from Day 1 of the campaign.

Project details gleaned from the campaign page*:

*(With asterisk-y asides by me.)

The money raised will be used to create and publish a science fiction and fantasy short story anthology. There will be a mixture of stories by invited authors* and stories submitted during an open call. Initially the anthology comprises ten short stories, but with stretch goals and sharing milestones this may be increased to twenty. At least three of the anthology’s stories will be contributions from the open call.

*Invited authors like yours truly. Kai Herbertz asked me if I’d do him the honor of contributing a story, I gave him the timeframe in which that would be remotely feasible, he said he was cool with that, so okay, looks like I’ll be whipping up a Danielle E. Shipley special**, come December.

As seen near the bottom of the campaign page … minus any yellow scribbles of emphasis.

As seen near the bottom of the campaign page … minus any yellow scribbles of emphasis.

**(Or, quite possibly, a Danielle E. Shipley/Tirzah Duncan special. We’re in talks on a collab inspired by one of our infamous imaginary romps.)

The Anthology will be released on Amazon via Kindle Direct Publishing and also as a print on demand paperback. Ebooks in Mobi, Epub, and PDF format will be created.

Two language versions will be planned for release. One in German* and the other in American English.

*German? A story of mine in German?? As in, the language with which I am in the process of attempting to make myself bilingual??? What a prospect!

The funding sum is the bare bones minimum to produce the anthology. The more money we raise, the more we can pay authors*.

*I am an author who would dearly like to be paid. Making pennies on my art is like pulling teeth**. Feel free to be generous.

**I would actually probably make a lot more money pulling teeth. Or selling my teeth. Or selling my body on the docks of France.

I dreamed a dream in time gone by… that I could actually make a living…

I dreamed a dream in time gone by… that I could actually make a living…


Aaaand that’s the latest. Anybody else out there got word news to share? Drop the headlines in the comments.

Ex-Specter the Unexpected (Will Scarlet’s Kiss & Tell)

“From the stage that brought you Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre,” Allyn-a-Dale proclaims before the curtain, “here’s Ever On Word’s original talk show, Will Scarlet’s Kiss & Tell.”

Danielle whipped up a logo for me, because she is awesome first class.

The curtain rises, the studio audience applauds, and Will Scarlet himself walks smiling and waving onto the bright, cozy set.

“Hullo, everyone! Let’s jump right into it, shall we?” Leading by example, he hops into his armchair. “Allyn, who is our guest character today?”

As the guest enters from the other side of the stage, Allyn says, “Author A. F. Stewart describes her creation thus:

Rob Parker is the town of Ashford’s paranormal expert, aka the town crackpot, and resident expert on the local ‘White Lady/Weeping Woman’ ghost sightings. Tall, brown hair, brown eyes, fiftyish with that ruggedly handsome, good old boy vibe, and an infectious grin. Can also be stubborn, and doggedly pig-headed when pursuing his paranormal investigations. Saw his first ghost at the age of twelve, on a stretch of road between Ashford and the neighbouring town of Maynard Mill, on what the locals dubbed the Haunted Highway. This sparked his lifelong interest in ghostly phenomena. He has one of the largest ghost sighting data bases in the country, and often consults with various paranormal investigative groups. For a day job, he co-owns the local pub eatery, called the Branch and Crown.

“Welcome, Rob!” Will greets the man now seated in the chair across from his own. “So glad you could join me. First things first – this ‘Weeping Woman’ ghost of yours… is she hot?”

Rob smiles. “I’m not really into that whole undead romance thing, but yes, our ‘Weeping Woman’ is quite the looker. Dark hair, pale skin, the wet look.” His grin gets a bit wider. “She had all the guys chasing her when she was alive. Now, though… her caterwauling might be a bit off-putting, and well, she’s a bit homicidal, so that’s not the most attractive quality.” He shrugs. “But I don’t judge, if you like that sort of thing.”

Will flaps a dismissive hand. “Pfft, if I let myself get discouraged by everyone who kind of wants to kill me, I’d never get anywhere. A bit of danger’s half the fun, I say! But I know the possibility of a gruesome death doesn’t do it for everyone, so let me ask: What is it about ghosts that so deeply fascinates you?”

Deepening his voice, Rob intones, “You mean besides the fact the dead still walk among us?” He lifts an eyebrow and wiggles it. “Really though, it’s the reasons they stay that intrigue me. What kind of powerful emotions keep a soul tethered past their time? Souls not passing on, or over, or whatever, are messing with the very forces of nature. Heady stuff, that. I can’t help but be fascinated.” A pensive look passes across his face. “Especially after that first ghost. She was so sad. She kept wandering that road trying to get home to her family, to make amends. Of course, her family was dead for fifty years, and she wasn’t ever going home.” He grins, just a bit. “First time I ever crossed over a spirit though, even if she didn’t much like the idea at first. That got the blood pumping, to be sure.”

“I’ll bet it did! Man, I can’t believe more people aren’t clamoring to get in on the excitement with you! Then again, lack of belief is pretty much the trouble, isn’t it? Based on the whole ‘town crackpot’ thing, I’m guessing not a lot of your neighbors take your hobby seriously. Why do you think it is that people are so skeptical of the paranormal?”

Rob snorts. “Most folks don’t want to know the truth. Too afraid. They’d rather ride around in their nice little cars to soccer practice or the gym, pretending there ain’t a world of crazy out there.” He shifts his gaze to just beyond Will’s shoulder for a second, then back to his host with a shake of his head. “Can’t say I blame them. Ghosts ain’t the only thing out there, and some of it is mean. Folks might be better off turning a blind eye. They’ll sleep more sound at night.”

Will shrugs dubiously. “I suppose there’s an argument to be made for blissful ignorance. Kinda just sounds like a shortcut to unpleasant surprises, though. Not knowing an arrow’s coming for you won’t save you from a punctured lung. Possible case in point: I heard something about an ongoing missing persons investigation going on in Ashford, right now. In your semi-professional opinion, is there a ghost somewhere at the bottom of this, or nah?”

Rob’s eyes flash, anger swirling, and his jaw tightens. “Ain’t no question about that. That ghost’s involved up to her soggy eyeballs. Not that I can make certain folks see reason on that front. But sooner or later, it’ll hit the fan.” Rob sighs. “Hope it doesn’t end like that case last month in the next county, though. Never saw that poor soul again. Least in this world.”

Will suppresses a shudder. “Well, here’s hoping the right people see the light before it starts beckoning the wrong souls into the hereafter. One last question before you spirit away, Rob. Tell me, what is your author A. F. Stewart’s biggest, deepest, darkest, most mortifying and/or hilarious secret?” He flashes a lively grin. “Or would you rather kiss me?”

Rob grins back. “Well now, considering that particular author’s fondness for killing off her characters, there’s no way I’m spilling her secrets, or making her ticked off at me.” He reaches into his pocket, takes out a breath spray and gives himself a spritz. “So pucker up, Will!”

“Boo-yah!” Will jumps up from his seat, takes Rob in his arms, and plants a passionate smackeroo on his lips. “Hey, Allyn,” he draws apart long enough to call behind him, “how ‘bout a word from our sponsor?”

“Today’s Kiss & Tell segment,” says Allyn, “was brought to you by…

THE WEEPING LADY by A. F. Stewart (“Beyond the Wail: 12 Grave Tales of Love and Loss”): Eva Douglas must face her mother issues, past and present, when the disappearance of her sister forces a confrontation with a terrifying ghost.

The Weeping Lady 3

“Thank you, Allyn,” Will says. “Thanks to you as well, Rob. And thank you, my beautiful audience. Remember, authors – if your characters would like to appear on the show, simply follow the guidelines provided here, and we’ll get them on the schedule. ‘Til next time, lovelies: Scarlet out!”

To the Wail and Beyond

What is it about fear and the unknown that pulls so passionately at the human heart? Perhaps we are drawn not to the darkness itself, but to the resolution, the overcoming of what we most deeply dread. After all, the more terrible the struggle, the greater the victory when it comes at last. Presented in this anthology are twelve remarkable stories of the darkness that overshadows us, and the resolution that may be found beyond them. They are stories of fear and oppression, but ultimately stories of hope, stories that will take you BEYOND THE WAIL.

It’s the final day of the blog tour for “Beyond the Wail: 12 Grave Tales of Love and Loss”! – the latest anthology from Xchyler Publishing, featuring my own “Date Due”, my bestie for life’s “Of Mice and Monsters”, and the works of a whopping ten other word-slinging types.

As one of the authors included in the collection, I’ve not bothered to write up a review of my own. But my main character in “Date Due” gave a running commentary of the book for the Halloween-y “Fortnight of Fright” blog hop, and our reading tastes may share some overlap here and there. Check it out at your leisure!

Here and now, however, the spotlight’s on fellow author F.M. Longo, the man behind the anthology’s “Shrine of Mirrors”. One quick Q&A with F.M., comin’ atcha!

Beyond the Wail, Banner

What is your preferred writing genre?

Mystery – because everything I write turns into one. Actually, you can create a mystery in any other genre – paranormal mysteries, romantic mysteries, historical mysteries.

How does writing impact other parts of your life?

It’s the other parts of my life that impacts my writing. I have a solid hour between 4am and 5am every morning to write. After that, I may get 5-10 minutes a couple times a day to add a few lines to my work in progress.

What are some of your other published works?

My earliest published works date to the mid-1980s, and were computer science topics such as “Generating Square-Roots using Newton’s Method,” “Approximating PI with a Buffon’s Needle Simulation,” and “Principles of Parsing Computer Languages”. After that, most of my articles were on photography and music, and then, in the early 2000s, about 100 articles on the history of food.

What is your advice to writers?

Find your own voice. If your writing sounds like you speak, then you’re there. If it sounds like someone else is speaking, go back and rewrite it. Don’t change your voice because it’s more marketable, or closer to what a specific market is looking for; find the market that matches your voice.

What’s up next for you?

I began a new short story series, this time set in contemporary Tokyo. It falls into paranormal territory and, yes, they’re mysteries. There’s two stories so far, and I haven’t gotten around to polishing them up for submission yet. Soon.

Beyond the Wail, The Authors

About F.M. Longo:

F.M. Longo grew up surrounded by books. He started his own personal book collection at the age of seven, filling his shelves with The Hardy Boys and Tom Swift, Jr. It wasn’t long before he read his way through the entire works of Christie, Queen, Sayers, Gardner, and Wolfe. He started working in commercial kitchens from the age of fifteen, but he traded his whites for a blue pin-striped suit when he started working in Lower Manhattan, developing financial and communications software for banks, brokerages and other Wall Street companies. He later went back to the kitchen, working as the banquet chef for a large resort, and later, as the executive chef and general manager at a fine-dining restaurant. He is also an accomplished jazz drummer, playing professionally for many years. Now retired, he advises non-profit groups in his area on publicity and advertising. Originally from Stratford, CT, where his four children and seven grandchildren still reside, he currently lives in Woodbury, CT.

Facebook ~ Twitter

Beyond the Wail, Availability



If you haven’t already (or if, what the hey, you wanna do it again), grab an e-book or paperback today! Also, it’s the last day to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway and potentially win awesome stuff. So go get ‘em, tiger!

If you’ve missed the other stops on the tour, worry not: I’ve got your schedule hookup below. Peruse as you will. And to any and all who have thus far read “Beyond the Wail”, THAAAAANK YOU. Double thanks if you drop a review somewhere! ^_^


Saturday, Oct. 10 = Danielle E. Shipley (that’s me!)


Sunday, Oct. 11 = Alex McGilvery


Monday, Oct. 12 = T.N. Payne


Tuesday, Oct. 13 = Ginger C. Mann

Beyond the Wail prizes 2

More prizes!


Wednesday, Oct. 14 = L.K. McIntosh


Thursday, Oct. 15 = Jay Barnson


Friday, Oct. 16 = A. F. Stewart


Saturday, Oct. 17 = Amanda Banker


Sunday, Oct. 18 = Julie Barnson


Monday, Oct. 19 = Sebastian Bendix

Beyond the Wail prizes 3

Ever more prizes!


Tuesday, Oct. 20 = Tirzah Duncan


Wednesday, Oct. 21 = F.M. Longo (you are here!)

Beyond the Wail prizes 4