Coming Soon: A Second Helping of Shorts

Once upon a time, a certain author received notice that – because publishing is a weird, uncertain animal – all of her short stories released through various Xchyler Publishing anthologies were on the verge of going out of print, and all the rights reverted to her.

As it happened, only half of the prophecy came true. A few days of negotiations among the anthology contributors prevented the removal of the endangered titles from Amazon. Even so (because, like I said: Weird, uncertain animal), her stories’ rights were our author heroine’s, to do with as she wished.

Xchyler Antho Lineup 3

And that author – *solemn nods* – was me.

And what I wish is to reprint all four of my short stories first published with Xcyhler – urban legend-esque “Two Spoons” (“Legends and Lore”), fantastically bromantic “Reality As We Know It”  (“The Toll of Another Bell”), eccentric fairy tale “A Mind Prone to Wander” (“Steel & Bone”), and deadly “Date Due” (“Beyond the Wail”) – in a brand new, exclusively Danielle E. Shipley-authored collection.

So that’s what’s gonna happen!

As I type, I have an artist working on the cover I’ve envisioned – no other than the talent behind the faces of “Outlaws of Avalon” 1.5 and 2.5, the charming Hannah Vale. I dug my stories’ files out of the crowded archive that is my authorial past, and have begun organizing them for their new format. And wow, actually looking back at the stuff I wrote up to 4 years ago is weird.

Specifically, it’s weird when the old work’s a short story. With novels and novellas, I have clear memories of writing them. I’ll come to a passage and recall, oh yeah, I was sitting in that spot when I typed it … or I’d been working that job when I scribbled down that plot idea … or that character put up a fuss when I almost said [blah-blah-blah] instead of [yadda-yadda]… The fact that those works were longer made them, by necessity, more of a journey; a struggle; an author-and-muses collaboration. Whereas my Xchyler short stories all pretty much happened like this:

Xchyler anthology contest: “Here, have a general writing prompt.”

Me: “I don’t know if I—”

Me a few minutes/hours/days later: “Never mind, I know. From first line to end, I know.”

Me, over the course of 3 to 10 days: *copies down the fully formed tale onto the laptop*

It’s all over so surreally quick, I barely feel like I’m part of the process. So maybe putting these stories out a second time, all by myself, will be a good bonding experience. Maybe by the end of the project, my heart will better know these four fun-size word babies as my own.

If nothing else, it’ll be something to help tide us all over while we wait for the debut of “So Super Dead” in the fall!

So, stay tuned for the reveal of the collection’s title, cover, and blurb. In the meantime, if YOUR brains have managed better than my defective model to hold onto any interesting memories of short stories, written and/or read by you, feel free to chat about ‘em in the comments!

The Forest’s Shadows Revealed


Those of you who’ve read Xchyler Pub’s “Legends and Lore” anthology — (y’know, the paranormal collection featuring my creeper of a story-child, “Two Spoons”) — may recall the work of one Emma Michaels. (Yes? No? Vague remembrances stirring somewhere in your subconscious?) Eh, well, don’t feel bad if none of this is ringing a bell; you know where to find my work, and if you want a taste of Emma’s, you can always start with her new novel coming out this fall.

A little birdie told me— well, no, that would suggest I heard about it on Twitter. Rather, a little, erm, book of faces told me that today is Cover Reveal Day for aforementioned novel. And me being the sorta-kinda-semi-decent-ish anthology sister that I am, of course I signed on to signal boost. With no more ado, then: Behold!

Shadows of the Forest
Emma Michaels
Publication date: November 5th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Everyone is dying to live in the Shadows of the Forest.
They gave me three rules to follow in exchange for my brother’s life:
1. Do not enter the West Wing;
2. Do not go outside after darkness falls; and
3. There is only one exit; The Gates.

This is what happened when I broke them…

Add to Goodreads




Author Bio:

Emma Michaels is the award winning author of the Society of Feathers series with over 15 publications under her belt. With a love for all things story-telling this bibliophile plans to take over the world one cup of coffee at a time. A rule breaker who isn’t afraid to have uncommon opinions she is an avid lover of mathematics and stand out fiction which transcends both its genre and format whether books, games, movies, or otherwise. A good story is a good story. When she isn’t online she is out dancing in the Washington rain or seeking new adventures.

Website / Facebook / Twitter

This cover reveal post was brought to you by the letter X, as in Xpresso Book Tours; and the number 5, as in put your hand up high in the comments if you’ve got thoughts on the look and/or sound of Emma’s latest!

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Book Spine Poetry Prophecy

Word on the ‘Net is April’s been National Poetry Month – i.e., the perfect excuse to finally get around to posting this book spine poem I composed back in February, inspired as I was by the Alexa Loves Books-hosted 2015 Book Blogger Love-a-Thon.

Some of you may recall the last time I shared such a poem (during the 2014 Love-a-Thon, as it happens.) Proud as I was of that piece of art, I do believe I like this one even better. Probably because it strikes me as sounding like some epic, ancient prophecy. Complete with rhymes. ^o^

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Spine Poetry Prophecy, Line 1

One more day on the Isle of Sound and Wonder inspired the Seventh Spell:

Spine Poetry Prophecy, Line 2

Transparent ink. The violet hour. The toll of another bell.

Spine Poetry Prophecy, Line 3

The Song Caster unhinged the door in the mountain; splintered the spirit war.

Spine Poetry Prophecy, Line 4

Vicious, marvelous spirit’s end – mistborn legends and lore.

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This lyrical omen brought to you by…

One More Day by L.S. Murphy and others (including yours truly) – available here

On the Isle of Sound and Wonder by Alyson Grauer – my review here

Inspired by Danielle E. Shipley – available here

The Seventh Spell (Book Three of The Wilderhark Tales) by Danielle E. Shipley – available here

Transparent by Natalie Whipple – my review here

Ink (Paper Gods #1) by Amanda Sun – found here on Goodreads

The Violet Hour (The Violet Hour #1) by Whitney A. Miller – found here on Goodreads

The Toll of Another Bell: A Fantasy Anthology by yours truly and others – available here

The Song Caster (Book Four of The Wilderhark Tales) by Danielle E. Shipley – available here

Unhinged (Splintered #2) by A.G. Howard – my review here

The Door in the Mountain by Caitlin Sweet – my review here

Splintered (Splintered #1) by A.G. Howard – my review here

The Spirit War (Eli Monpress #4) by Rachel Aaron – my review here

Vicious by V.E. Schwab – my review here

Marvelous (The Books of Marvella #1) by Travis Thrasher – found here on Goodreads

Spirit’s End (Eli Monpress #5) by Rachel Aaron – my review here

Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson – found here on Goodreads

Legends and Lore: An Anthology of Mythic Proportions by yours truly and others – available here

Got any cool book spine poems of your own – oracular or otherwise? I do hope you’ll share!

The Launch of “Legends and Lore”!

Legends and Lore

Sing hey for Release Day of “Legends and Lore: An Anthology of Mythic Proportions”! Have you purchased your copy? ‘Cause it’s totally available!

The blog tour’s been running this last week-and-a-day. If you haven’t yet, feel free to peruse the stops linked below. (And the Rafflecopter giveaway‘s counting down the last hours, so get your entries in quick!)

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October 14 = Quetz’ Domain (review of “The Brother-Sister Fable” / Q&A with Alyson Grauer)

October 14 = The Author Visits

October 15 =  Semi Short Chic (Q&A with Sarah Hunter Hyatt)

October 16 = Vampires, Crime and Angels … Eclectic Me (Q&A with Emma Michaels)

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October 17 = Penny Writes (review of “Charon’s Obol” / Q&A with R.M. Ridley)

October 17 = Julkbearreads’s Blog

October 17 = Michael Cross Books

October 18 = A Book and a Cup of Coffee (Q&A with Sarah E. Seeley)

October 18 = The J. Aurel Guay Archive

October 19 = Inspired Writers (Q&A with Lance Schonberg)

October 19  = Slithers of Thought (excerpt of “Peradventure” / Sarah E. Seeley’s reviews of all the other stories in the collection)

October 20 = More than a Writer (Q&A with Danielle E. Shipley)

October 20 = D. Lee Jortner (review of “Two Spoons”)

October 20 = Jodi L. Milner, Author

October 21 = Candy O’Donnell (Q&A with A.F. Stewart)

October 21 = Perpetual Chaos of a Wandering Mind (“Legends and Lore” editor Penny Freeman’s take on the anthology and bringing it to life)

October 22 = Are You Afraid of the Dark? (Q&A with M.K. Wiseman)

October 22 = Reading in Sarah’s Corner

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In related and quite exciting news, the “Legends and Lore” release party is today! Join us, 4pm – 8:30pm MST (that’s 6pm – 10:30pm Central/Deshipley time), for fun and games, author chats, and prizes like this little beauty of a keychain I custom made (with a little… well, a lot of help from my family) in honor of my anthology contribution, “Two Spoons”. I hope to see you there!

Two Spoons Keychain 1

In Which I Achieve Web Wizardry

Once upon a time, there was an author who suffered from a terrible curse.

To wit, her dread archfoe, the Technology Fiend, despised her with all passion. He got his kicks by tainting anything she touched requiring a battery, plug, or modem, and was particularly tickled by thwarting her attempts to become computer savvy.

Our poor author grew understandably fearful of treading in enemy territory. Every click of a button authorizing yet another account or threatening one more upgrade sent spasms of anticipatory horror through her heart. But much as she would have liked to stay far, far away from all terrors technological, she was, as I said, an author – and a self-publishing author, at that. In this day and age, an author is expected to blog, have a website, show her face on social media. And a mostly self-pubbing author with no other employment doesn’t have enough cash to hire someone else to do all the scary Internet stuff for her.

So when the day came that our author – who also happened to be something of a perfectionist – looked upon the “My Books” page of her website and thought, “I suppose this serves its purpose well enough, but it’s not all that I want it to be,” she had no recourse but to suck up her anxiety and figure out how to work a little web sorcery.

And that author… *solemn nods* …was me.

Time to put on my big girl wizard robe and get ‘er done.
Time to put on my big girl wizard robe and get ‘er done.

Opinions will vary on what’s needed to make a website look “professional” (which I feel is a kind of snotty term, in general, since when you’re good at what you do, you can do it your own way and make it amazing, never mind some arbitrary standard clung to by the masses. But I digress into artistic anarchy…). My personal minimum requirements/preferences are that it be clean (because I don’t deal well with clutter) and simple to navigate (because isn’t the whole point that visitors be able to find the information they’re looking for?).

What nagged at me about my site’s original “My Books” page is that it wasn’t immediate enough. You started at the top with the cover and info for my first published book (“The Swan Prince”), then scrolled down to get to my next book, and the next, and so on chronologically, through the whole of my Wilderhark Tales (to date), my first professional anthology (“One More Day”), and my debut novel (“Inspired”), until you reached the current position on my publishing road and the page’s end simultaneously. All very well, but why couldn’t I have that deal where the covers of all the available books are presented at once in a neat little gallery, and clicking on one will take you to another page dedicated to that one book (or perchance the whole of its series) only?

Because I didn’t know how to make it happen, that’s why. And I was scared to try to learn. But if being scared were enough to stop me from doing things, I wouldn’t have any published books to show off on a website in the first place.

So I went to my site’s dashboard thing. And I stared at it, looking for some kind of hint or guidepost. I’d seen other Weebly-powered sites pull the trick I wanted, so there had to be a way…

Website Dashboard
What am I even looking at, right now?…

Aha! Down there, what’d that say? “Tip: Drag pages up/down to reorder and left/right to create subpages.

Subpages! That sounded like exactly what I wanted!

Now came the true test of courage: Sacrificing the sure thing I had in order to reach for what I knew, if gained, would be better.

There’s a great, honking life metaphor, for you.

After much stressful experimentation, uploading pics, copy/pasting text, fiddling with format, and careful linkage, I had a brand new at-a-glance “My Books” page, complete with subpages for each and every title. Like. A. Boss.

It’s… *sniff* …beautiful.
It’s… *sniff* …beautiful.

Sure, I screwed up a bunch of times. Yes, I crashed the browser once. Never mind how many hours later it pushed my already ridiculously late breakfast. I got my heart set on a goal, put my mind to the task and came out with one more tally mark next to my name on the Danielle vs. Tech Fiend scoreboard.

And oh, hey, would you look at that: My new page’s gallery of covers includes the face of “Legends and Lore: An Anthology of Mythic Proportions” – the Xchyler Publishing paranormal collection set to release on Wednesday (party over here!). If I do say so myself, it does look mighty fine. ^_^

A Taste of “Two Spoons”

Those of you who frequent my Facebook author page or follow me on Twitter have likely gotten an eyeful of the following image already. But for any readers here who’ve yet to have the pleasure, consider this Ever On Word’s cover reveal day for Xchyler Publishing’s upcoming paranormal anthology, “Legends and Lore”!

Legends and Lore

Boy oh boy, I’m itching to get my hands on my own personal paperback of this baby! And I’m so impatient to share my anthology contribution with you guys that – to heck with it – you’re getting a sneak peek at the first 500 words of my story, “Two Spoons”!

This once happened to a friend of mine.

That’s how these urban legends always start, right? You never say you, you say a friend, or a friend of a friend, and you either mean yourself or no one who ever lived outside of a cheesy campfire story. And if you say it happened once, you either mean upon some never-mind-exactly-when time or just plain never.

So, you know if I say a friend and once, I mean something else. I mean us. And twenty years later, it’s still too soon to forget.

It started out perfectly real, stupidly normal. Two kids in high school who felt grown-up enough to do grown-up things, until they recognized the just-beginning-to-grow-inside-of-her thing they’d created between them, and it struck them a little too late just how young and far from ready they were.

She didn’t have much of a family to turn to. He had two or three times a normal family to help make up the difference. When his parents and grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins heard there was another one of them on the way, they absorbed the budding mother into their number, and the baby along with her.

That’s what the family always did: feed and grow, feed and grow. They grew a restaurant and fed their community—straight from their hearts to the mouths of their neighbors. Their niche was soul food, and food was the family’s soul.

The new little one, to whom the family gave a proper name only to generally ignore it in favor of calling her Tidbit, practically lived in the restaurant. She sat in a highchair or was passed from arms to arms, lap to lap, while her father scrubbed dishes and her mother scrubbed countertops. With all the kitchen noises around her—banging pots and pans, clattering plates and cutlery, sizzling, whipping, blending, splashing, and orders shouted back and forth—she grew to find less and less reason to add to the chaos.

Past her first birthday, she never screamed or cried. By her second, the family was still unsure whether she’d learned how to talk. By her third, they knew she could, though she didn’t do it often; didn’t open her mouth much at all, except to take in food or drink or her thumb. Having watched the disorganized dance of the kitchen her whole life, she’d figured out walking and staying out from underfoot at about the same time. With her general lack of sound, size, and nuisance, Tidbit was forgotten about as often as she was remembered.

The late spring evening the Black Man came, the girl was four years old and out of the kitchen, watching the less chaotic show of the diners on the floor.

He wasn’t black in the way Tidbit’s family was black. His narrow eyes were black, the sleek hair swept back from his forehead was black, his shoes, pants, and jacket over his black shirt were black, but black wasn’t what he wore, and it wasn’t what he was. It was who.

And?” you cry. “AND?

Aaand that’s it for the appetizer, kids. The full meal gets served on October 22nd, release day for “Legends and Lore”. We can help make the wait more bearable by keeping each other company in the comments section. Share your impressions of the cover and/or story snippet? ^^

Open Journal: Waiting to Wake

Recent-Past Me writes…

It is a day I wish I were writing.

I’m not currently, as I have other projects – some writing-related, some not – with more immediate deadlines that need my attention. I’m prepping for publications scheduled to come out mid-October and the start of December. And “prepping”, at the moment, means doing nothing.

I’m waiting on my next instructions for the October release (“Legends and Lore: An Anthology of Mythic Proportions” via Xchyler Publishing), and waiting on the delivery of my first proof copy of the December release (“The Sun’s Rival”, Book Five of The Wilderhark Tales, via me) so I can seek out and destroy any inevitable typos.

Just Waiting

Waiting, waiting, waiting.

Waiting is a part of life. But I would not call it living.

I’m waiting until November – the next National Novel Writing Month – to dive into a new first draft. I’ve chosen a project. I’m eager and nervous to begin. It shall be the last of The Wilderhark Tales – the seventh in what I’d long believed to be a six-novella series.

I’d known this part of the story existed. I just hadn’t expected I would write it. Thinking on it over the summer, though, the series arc wouldn’t be wholly complete without it. So I’ve got to get the story’s end down. And then there’ll be Book Five to release, Book Six to revise into a publication-ready state… Mercy, and there’s that other, entirely unrelated novel in need of revision, too.

But first we wait.

By the time this post hits the blog (whenever that will be), I expect I’ll have shuffled ahead some distance in the waiting line. Some tasks will be over and done. Others will loom just ahead, claiming their turn at the top of the priorities list. Items ordered will have hopefully arrived in the mail. November and its promise of writing will be that much closer. Maybe I’ll feel awake, finally. Awake and keen to be doing things.

At the moment, I’m not feeling much of either.

Edgwyn Wyle pats my shoulder. “You still have value.”

Thanks, buddy.