ARC Review | A Quaint and Curious Volume of Gothic Tales – Edited by Alex Woodroe

A Quaint and Curious Volume of Gothic Tales is a short story anthology published by Brigid’s Gate Press and includes 24 delightful stories embodying the gothic themes of mystery, horror, and gloom with plenty of magic, mythology, and otherworldly elements mixed in.

This collection is professionally compiled and organized, with cover art by Elizabeth Leggett that is a perfect swirl of enchanting and creepy, an excellent Foreward by Alex Woodroe, and a charming Introduction by Stephanie Ellis.

The stories are written by both new and established authors, and there is a story (or two, or three, or more) that everyone will enjoy and will want to read again. As with all anthologies, some stories moved me more deeply than others, but all of them had their own unique touch of intrigue and dread that kept me engrossed in the narrative and furiously turning the pages.

I will be acquiring a physical copy once it is available for purchase on Amazon. These stories are perfect to squeeze into that 5-15 minute window where escape from the real world of doom and gloom is a must just to make it through the day.

I’ll be keeping up with Brigid’s Gate Press, this anthology shows that they have an eye for quality and creativity that promises more great stories in their future publications.

You can follow them on twitter @Brigidsgate.

A Quaint and Curious Volume of Gothic Tales is available for pre-order today on Amazon! and officially launches on January 31st! It will be available in Kindle and Paperback.

Happy Writing!

~MJ & Petey

If you enjoyed this read, consider giving Petey a treat for waiting so patiently while I created this post!

Give Petey a Treat

Monthly Writing Prompt | January 2022

The eyes are captivating, full of emotion. It turns them on you. Paralyzes you. If you look away it might…

But even if it doesn’t, if somehow you break away from it unscathed, you will not be unchanged.

Muse stimulators:

  • What is “it”?
  • How does the POV feel?
  • What emotions are recognizable in “its” eyes?
  • Why would the POV be unchanged?
  • What happened five minutes before?
  • What happens next?

Happy Writing!

~MJ

If you enjoyed this prompt, consider giving Petey a treat for waiting so patiently while I created this post!

Give Petey a Treat

Editing Series | Chapter 23

Sometimes that masterpiece needs a complete rewrite. Here are some reasons why mine did.

If you want to skip to a helpful writing tip, you can jump to 3:18. 🙂

I will be posting a post-critique group video on this same chapter in the future to let you all know what they had to say about it. I’m anxious to learn what my first round of editing missed that they are able to catch. I’m so grateful to my critique group, they truly are an amazing group of writers and are such an incredible resource for me.

If you enjoyed this video, please like and subscribe and I’ll see you in a future video!

If this series is helpful for you and you want to learn more about how I can help you polish your novel:

-Check out my writing services

-Follow me on twitter

-Or donate a treat to my writing companion Pit/Dalmation pup Petey for patiently waiting for my attention while I created this content

Happy Writing!

~MJ

Editing Series | Chapter 24 Critique Group Comments

What did my critique group have to say about my editing of Chapter 24?

Quite a lot, actually. Click the video below to learn more.

This just goes to show how blinded an author can be to the limitations of their own work, even when they identify and acknowledge issues and try to fix them.

Our greatest challenge is translating what we see in our head to the page, and I’ve found that it’s almost impossible to know if I’ve succeeded in doing that completely unless another person (preferably more than one) reads and critiques it.

Having a critique group to provide insight and feedback is such a great tool and it’s really helped me craft the best version of my story, and it’s what is going to make all the difference in getting this manuscript published.

If you enjoyed this video, please follow my blog and subscribe to my youtube channel, and I’ll see you in a future video!

If this series is helpful for you and you want to learn more about how I can help you polish your novel:

-Check out my writing services

-Follow me on twitter

-Or donate a treat to my writing companion Pit/Dalmation pup Petey for patiently waiting for my attention while I created this content.

Happy Writing!

MJ

Editing Series | Chapter 24

The second video of my Editing Series is live!

Chapter 24 is a first draft that I haven’t read since I finished writing it during NaNo 2020. This short video describes the main issues I encountered during editing.

If you want to skip to a helpful writing tip, you can jump to 2:18. 🙂

I will be posting a post-critique group video on this same chapter in the future to let you all know what they had to say about it. I’m anxious to learn what my first round of editing missed that they are able to catch. I’m so grateful to my critique group, they truly are an amazing group of writers and are such an incredible resource for me.

If you enjoyed this video, please like and subscribe and I’ll see you in a future video!

If this series is helpful for you and you want to learn more about how I can help you polish your novel:

-Check out my writing services

-Follow me on twitter

-Or donate a treat to my writing companion Pit/Dalmation pup Petey for patiently waiting for my attention while I created this content

Happy Writing!

MJ

Editing | An Introduction

Are you struggling with identifying why the novel you completed during NaNoWriMo isn’t ready for publication? Are you curious if other writers experience the same first draft issues that you do?

I am launching a new series on my YouTube Channel: Editing Series (kinda lame name but oh well) which will explore exactly that and offer some writing tips along the way.

I finished a rough draft of my novel during NaNoWriMo 2020 and it needs a lot of work, but I’ve made it my goal to get this novel ready to start querying agents in 2022.

If you are interested in learning how I am going about reaching that goal, and what issues I encounter along the way, please subscribe to my YouTube channel because I will be breaking down each chapter’s issues as I complete them in the hope that it will help me stay on track for my publication goal, and also provide insight into what might be missing from your first draft.

Check out my Introduction video below to learn more:

If you enjoyed this video, please like and subscribe and I’ll see you in a future video!

If this series is helpful for you and you want to learn more about how I can help you polish your novel:

-Check out my writing services

-Follow me on twitter

-Or donate a treat to my writing companion Pit/Dalmation pup Petey for patiently waiting for my attention while I created this content

Happy Writing!

MJ

Monthly Writing Prompt | December 2021

Your chest constricts. Exhaustion overwhelms you to the point where you’re not sure you’ll ever get up again. To be here…you never thought you would be here. You wondered. Theorized. But never truly believed it. This changes things forever.

***Muse Stimulators***

  • What has just happened?
  • Was the experience good or bad?
  • Is “here” a real place or a metaphorical one?
  • What happens next?
  • Is there anyone else there?

Happy Writing!

~MJ

If you enjoyed this prompt, consider giving Petey a treat for waiting so patiently while I created this post!

Buy Petey a Treat!

“Brothers in Arms” – Katie Trescott | Author Spotlight

“Thank you for your service.” We’ve all heard the phrase, maybe said it ourselves. But how many of us know what that service entails?

Katie Trescott’s short story, “Brothers in Arms”, beautifully captures the unseen burdens of two service members in a thoughtful and moving short story, published by Collateral Journal on 15 November 2021.

I first met Katie in 2019 when she joined the Augusta Writer’s Critique Group. She has submitted several inspiring manuscripts for critique, including “Brothers in Arms”, and I’m so excited to see her published.

Katie’s favorite genres to explore are female-centered adventures, fantasy, sci-fi, and the odd historical fiction. It’s been a delight working with her and I highly encourage you to read “Brothers in Arms” and discover Katie Trescott’s talented storytelling for yourself.

Follow her on Twitter @zombie4tres and stay tuned for more because Katie is just getting started on a very successful writing career!

Happy Writing!

~MJ

“Come, Devil” – Laura Marden | Author Spotlight

Do you like listening to great stories? Ones that give you goosebumps and bring you to the edge of your seat?

“Come, Devil”, written by Laura Marden and narrated by Nate DuFort on Creepy Podcast is a short story that will send a shiver down your spine and leave you looking over your shoulder.

If you like supernatural elements with a western grit, you will find this story highly enjoyable.

Laura’s favorite genres to explore are literary fiction, sci-fi, and cyberpunk. I met her when she joined the Augusta Writer’s Critique Group in November of 2019. Since then, I’ve had the privilege to critique several of her manuscripts that have been published, including “Lucid Dreaming”, “Daughter of the Qavvi”, and “Come, Devil”.

She is a highly talented writer and it’s truly been a pleasure working with her. Check out her published manuscripts, follow her on Twitter @LauraJMarden, and stay tuned for more, because she is just getting started on a very successful writing career!

Happy Writing!

~MJ

Featured author photo courtesy of The Blind Man Photography | Twitter @Blindmanphotog1

Why You Shouldn’t Let Readers Read Your First Draft

“Hey, you like reading books, do you want to read mine?”

This might be the worst question you ever want to ask someone as a writer.

Why?

Because readers are expecting your book to be the same quality that they are used to reading. They’re expecting a fully polished manuscript: publish ready, grammar and spelling error-free, edited, streamlined, underwritten, overwritten, a killer cover. You get the picture.

So the reason why “Aunt Sal” hasn’t gotten back to you about your book is probably because, to be brutally honest, she thinks it sucks and doesn’t want to hurt your feelings.

And it probably does suck according to her standards of read-worthy manuscripts.

And on the opposite end, for those people who actually read it and are honest with you about it, it can be very hurtful to hear that the book you have poured blood, sweat, tears, and a ton of time and soul into is “boring” or “slow” or “full of spelling errors” or “I didn’t really connect with the characters” or something similar.

Trust me, I’ve been there, experienced both of these scenarios and a bunch in between too. And I’m hear to tell you:

Your manuscript doesn’t suck.

It’s just not finished yet. You have the bones, some of the vital organs, but the flesh is still inside your head, and you need to get that onto the page, because that’s what’s keeping your readers from experiencing your book the way you want them to. The way you experience it in your head.

“Well. Who do I get to read it then?”

Find a Writer.

Writers appreciate the writing process. They know what a draft looks like. More important, they know what a draft is missing.

Writers can pinpoint exactly where you need to beef it up to make it readable. They’re not looking at your manuscript as publish ready, they’re looking at it as a work in progress, and this is the most helpful perspective one can have when reading your draft.

Writers are not shocked or offended by grammar errors, plot holes, or character inconsistencies, but they are honed into them and can spot them so you can fix them. Sometimes, writers can have great suggestions on how you can rework these problem areas to make your manuscript really shine.

So, when you have “completed” your novel and you’re feeling super accomplished and wildly excited to share your masterpiece, don’t give it to a “reader” to read. Or a family member. Their feedback is unreliable, probably less than honest, they might not read it at all, and they don’t understand how to tell you constructively where your manuscript needs more polish.

Find a writer. A critique group. A freelance editor. Or a designated beta reader (they are also not expecting perfection). Each of these options vary in price from free to well over several grand, with different benefits and setbacks to each one. All of them are far more beneficial than Aunt Sal and will offer you much needed constructive feedback.

Happy Writing!

~MJ

Who is the most beneficial person to read your first draft?
#WritingTip #Writing #WritingCommunity #AmWriting

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