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Ahoy, me hearties, and welcome back aboard the Resilience. I’m your ship’s Sea Witch, Marie (M. W.) McLeod. I wish I could say I controlled anything, but even the sock puppets get out of hand most days. Looking at you Zane! I want my socks back!

For real, though… I’m not sure what he’s using them for. Is he trying to summon another sock puppet demon or something much more jaw-droppingly, eye-poppingly nefarious? What a sicko. Just look at that smug face!

Enough of McLeod!

Welcome to the bilge! The shadowy portion of the ship full of sock- I mean crates, piled high for the world to see. I am the Demon General Zangrunath. I will not suffer to be called anything less than my station. Get it right, McLeod, you useless witch. My Ellyria is much better at this.

Now that I’ve stolen everybody’s left socks, I have enough material to enact my plan for a mutiny! There will be no soul left unturned when I become the new captain of this decrepit vessel-!

Work In Progress

Sorry about Zane! He’s taking a little nap now, and I’m proud to announce that I’ve reclaimed everybody’s socks. All you need to do is ignore the demon saliva.

Anyway, I was asked to chat about what I’m writing here. My current project is a modern take on the classic tale The Giant Who Had No Heart in His Body by Abjornsen and Moe. It’s a dark fantasy fairy tale retelling that puts all the elements of the original story into a jar and shakes vigorously, just like I’m considering with a certain sock puppet at the moment. 

If you hate happy endings and love a good villain, I think you might enjoy it. For now, I will share the bounty of my harvest with the rest of the ship. Quartermaster! I found your socks! They’re covered in demon- uhh… slobber. Yeah, that’s it. Also, why are they pink?

The Book That Broke Me

McLeod, M.W. The Veiled War book cover XS
buy ir now

Two and a half years of my life, that’s how much time this book took from start to finish. The mere sight of it sparks joy, pride, and eternal loathing. Magdiana and Astero’s story began in November 2021, and after rewriting more than half of it in 2022, I hated what I created. So, back to the drawing board we went.

The next thing I knew, I was hard at work airlifting my characters and the main themes of their story into a different, more high-stakes setting. Longest Week Ever suddenly became The Veiled War, and as I began to edit-edit-edit, life came to a screeching halt.

What I thought would be a usual amount of time editing, polishing, and fine-tuning became several long months from August through April until we finally come to today. I can finally say this thing is done, and we can dump it off the ship. Captain? Can I have the book walk the plank for misconduct? Pretty please?

This book brought me more stress and tears than I care to admit or think about, and at times, I felt ready to give up. I guess that’s why they call our good ship the Resilience. Now, where did all of that rum go?

Let’s Talk About Book Pirating

Where we take a tour around the ship to find out what’s cooking, see what our writers have posted on their socials and check out a book or two from the readers’ room.

This week, I wanted to talk to you about book pirating. Recently, our own FK Marlowe experienced the gut-wrenching situation of finding out that her intellectual property was stolen and put up on a website without her permission. This is a familiar story for many other indie authors, and for some, it ends in having our Kindle Direct Publishing accounts banned due to exclusivity agreements, even if we as the author were not the person to post the work on the offending website in the first place.

I’ve personally experienced this situation, and I felt incredibly anxious about whether or not Miss Marlowe’s issues would be dealt with swiftly or not, especially since the offender in my case took months to remove my work from their website. Luckily, the website that had Marlowe’s work had a Twitter page, and being the savvy social media butterfly that she is, we saw the beginning of the DMCA saga:

Once the tweet was out there, we needed to wait. Oh, the agonizing wait to see if you can have your own work back where it belongs, where we as the author choose to distribute it. This book pirating thing has almost nothing to do with “free books” for other people. In my own personal opinion, if a reader asked nicely about receiving a free copy of my book because they couldn’t afford a copy, I would happily supply one to them.

This book pirating situation has everything to do with control over one’s own intellectual property and our rights as the authors to distribute our products as we choose, which is to say that we want to know when and where they are being sold or downloaded for free. So having people on a website we did not choose for our stories is not only shocking but insulting. Somebody thought they knew what to do with our writing better than us. Frankly, it’s rude and presumptuous, and I’d love to see the practice stop entirely in favor of the above. Most of us authors want to connect with readers. It doesn’t hurt to reach out. The worst-case scenario is the word, “no.”

Now, for my favorite part of the story. Resolution. We all love a happy ending, and I’m pleased to say this part of the story ended well. Of course, there was more than one offender in this case, and I’m certain Miss Marlowe is working on reaching out to the other parties involved still. But all’s well that ends well for now.

And Finally…

Next week, it’s our Captain takes back the helm, and I hope she’s ready to come up with a punishment for Zangrunath’s antics and The Veiled War’s insolence for thinking it could test the mental strength and fortitude of the Ship’s Sea Witch! I hear she’s got some new titles coming out soon, and I’m oh-so excited. Here we are, leveling up our good ship once again.



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