Bound by Darkness Review

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Nov 13 2011

Bound by Darkness, book 2 in the Soul Gatherer series, received a wonderful review over at Bitten by Books yesterday.

“McCleave skillfully reveals pieces of Lena’s and Brian’s backstories as the story progresses, seamlessly weaving them into the plot and action of the present in which the tale takes place. The pacing never lags in this excellent novel, and the characterizations are so clear that the reader will sometimes feel as though they are looking directly at the persons or beings described.”

For the entire review, visit the Bitten by Books website.

It’s always a thrill to learn out someone has enjoyed one of my stories. :-)


Filed under: Books, Cover Art, The Road to Publication  •  Comments: share yours!

Jun 29 2011

It’s been an interesting experience self-publishing my e-novella, Tempting the Knight, and my e-novel, Dark Deceiver. The operative word in that sentence is definitely ‘self’. All the things my NY publisher used to do for me are now my responsibility. What things, you ask?

1. The Cover.
Many people who self-publish whip off a cover themselves, but my design skills aren’t up to the task and, frankly, I got spoiled having my previous covers designed in NY. So, I went to a design shop–one that has an excellent portfolio of romance covers–and hired someone to design my covers. Both of my covers were designed by Kim Killion at Hot Damn Designs.

2. The Editing.
If you’ve read any of my previous blog posts about the publishing process, you’ll know how grateful I am that there are copy editors. I have a bad habit of reading a sentence and seeing the words I intended to write, not the words I actually wrote. After revising my manuscript umpteen dozen times, I’ve been known to drop words like ‘a’ or ‘it’ or ‘the’ in spots. I’m also clueless about the rules for hyphenation and I’m a comma ho. My copy editor in NY used to catch all those boo-boos, and also caught poor sentence structure, timeline problems, and continuity errors (descriptions that change over the course of the book, i.e. blue eyes in the beginning, green later on).

I truly value the role of the copy editor. For Dark Deceiver, a full-length novel, I knew I needed a second pair of eyes. I had writer friends read the manuscript and point out problems, but I wanted a thorough scrubbing. So, I hired a copy editor. Laura Paquet from Cornerstone Word, who previously did copy edits for Harlequin, helped me out tremendously. Now, there still may be a few boo-boos in the book, but I take full responsibility for them–I made some small revisions after Laura had been through the manuscript.

3. The E-Book Formatting.
There are numerous e-reader devices on the market and although it would blissful if they all read the same file format, they don’t. The Kindle reads .MOBI files, the Nook and the Sony read .EPUB files, the Palm devices read .PRB files, etc. Plus, it’s important to make the e-books available for folks who don’t have an e-reader, so you’ll want to produce .HTML and .PDF files, as well. If you publish through Smashwords, they have a piece of software called the Meatgrinder that takes your Word files and spits out all the various formats. I used it for Tempting the Knight. Unfortunately, the output isn’t perfect.

So, I learned how to create my own e-book files. To give credit where credit is due, I found Guido Henkel’s blog series Take pride in your eBook formatting extremely helpful.

If you want to be a self-published author, be prepared to do a lot of the extra work yourself–or hire someone to help. Yes, it’ll cost you time and effort beyond the actual writing, if you want a truly professional result, it’ll cost you dollars, as well. But, in my humble opinion, the ability to publish stories that would otherwise remain untold and to reach new and existing readers is worth it.

And Now for Something a Little Different…

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Jun 24 2011

I know many of you are waiting for news of the next Soul Gatherer novel, and I’m sad to say the series has come to an end…sort of. There are no more books scheduled for release from NAL Signet Eclipse. However, since I know my fans are seeking some closure, I’ll be self-publishing an e-book short story in September to wrap up a few loose ends. I’m still working out the details of the story, so I can’t tell you who the hero and heroine are yet, but I soon as I have deets, I’ll share them.

To help you get your fix of hot heroes in the meantime, I’ve released a full-length e-book paranormal romance on Amazon, called Dark Deceiver. It’s not set in the Soul Gatherer world–it’s a novel I wrote before I sold the first book in the Soul Gatherer series–but with any luck, Daemon Kemp (the hero) will rock your world as much as he did mine.

I’ll be releasing the book in other formats besides Amazon Kindle over the next couple of weeks. I’ll update this post when they’re available. Other versions of Dark Deceiver, including web browser .HTML and Adobe Acrobat .PDF, are now available at All Romance eBooks.

If you don’t have an e-reader, take heart. You can still read the book on your computer. Most of the major e-reader companies provide free reading applications for the PC, MAC, iPhone, Android phones, and more. Try:

Barnes & Noble

You can also read PDF and EPUB files with Adobe Digital Editions. It’s a free download, as well.

Digital Editions

Tempting the Knight

Filed under: Books, Medieval Madness, News  •  Comments: share yours!

May 13 2011

A couple of years ago, I wrote a novella for the Brava Novella contest sponsored by Kensington Publishing. It finaled in that contest, and I even had some people stop by my website hoping it would be published. Alas, it wasn’t to be. I put the novella aside when my paranormal romances caught the interest of NY publishers.

But the popularity of e-readers and the simplification of the e-publishing business, especially through Amazon, have given me a new opportunity to provide the story to readers. So, it’s with great pleasure that I announce Tempting the Knight: A Novella is available on Amazon and Smashwords.

If you like medieval romances, I hope you’ll check it out.

Release Day!

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Jan 4 2011

Surrender to Darkness officially releases today! I’m so excited to see this book on the shelf–Murdoch is one of my favorite heroes so far.

I’m blogging over at Silk & Shadows today … and giving away a signed copy to one lucky commenter. If you’d like to win a copy, hop over and log a comment. There’s a new excerpt posted there, too.

p.s. I’m not sure if I mentioned this, but the German version of Surrender has a release date: September 12, 2011. I’ve posted the covers on my Books page.

For A Good Cause

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Nov 25 2010

I’m participating in a huge giveaway over at Literary Escapism where the “entry” for the giveaway is a donation to Child’s Play. If you want a chance to win an ARC of Surrender to Darkness, plus a ton of other great books, check it out!

Child's Play Giveaway

Great Review for Surrender

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Nov 22 2010

My January release, Surrender to Darkness, got a very nice review from Publishers Weekly today. If you visit the PW link, scroll down to the bottom of the page. My favorite line: “McCleave skillfully interweaves action, magic, mythology, and love to produce a fast-paced, satisfying story.”

Winner of August giveaway

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Sep 1 2010 has spoken, and the winner of the copy of Jennifer Haymore’s A Touch of Scandal is….Bethany! Congratulations, Bethany! Send me your snail mail addy via my contact page and I’ll get the book out to you ASAP.

Happy September, all.


Filed under: Books, Contest  •  Comments: 4 comments

Aug 1 2010

I’ve been doing a lot of reading this summer, thoroughly enjoying a bevy of wonderful contemporaries, paranormals, and historicals. I thought I’d share my bliss with my readers and give away a book. What book? Well, a fellow romance author, Jennifer Haymore, has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer–a disease which has hit my family hard. To support her and her wonderful writing, I’m giving away a copy of Jennifer’s recent historical release, A Touch of Scandal.

To win, all you need to do is comment on my blog between August 1 and August 31st, 2010. I’ll pick one winner from the commenters using and announce the winner on September 1st.

Good luck!

Happy Canada Day!

Filed under: Books, News, The Road to Publication  •  Comments: 6 comments

Jul 1 2010

Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canadians. I hope you have a terrific holiday and have plans to celebrate in style. I’m celebrating, too. Not just the 143rd anniversary of the birth of our nation,  but the latest cover of my Soul Gatherer books.

The first two covers of my Soul Gatherer series, Drawn into Darkness and Bound by Darkness, both featured hot guys with swords.  The focus was the body and the mystical elements of the weapons and the backgrounds. I loved them both.

With Surrender, my publisher is taking a slightly different approach. Don’t worry, there’s still a hot guy with a sword on the front! I’d be heartbroken if my Soul Gatherers lost their moment in the spotlight. But instead of the chopped off head and bare chest, Surrender to Darkness has the full image of my hero, Murdoch, in a more active pose. My editor and the marketing team at NAL did an awesome job of finding a look-alike and dressing him in the attire he wears in the book, right down to the motorcycle boots.

I love this cover, too! Take a look:

So, what do you think?

Edits Surrendered

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Jun 22 2010

The general edits for book 3 are done and the book is off to the copy editor. If you’re confused, you’re not alone. It took me a while to sort out the process, too. A copy editor looks at the grammar, style, and consistency of the book, where my editor focuses on the bigger picture elements such as plot and character development.

So, what’s the name of this mysterious third book, you ask? Surrender to Darkness. If you’ve read Bound by Darkness, then you’ve met the hero, Murdoch. Being a Soul Gatherer is challenging enough, but Murdoch’s got an added burden–he’s a berserker.

I’ll post the blurb and the cover art in days to come…:-)

RT Review for Bound

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Apr 3 2010

A friend of mine was kind  enough to email me the partial wording of the 4 ½  star RT review for Bound by Darkness (and shortly thereafter, so did my editor). Here’s what it said:

An emotional read, Bound is filled with familial love and obligation.  Full of suspense and danger, this romantic adventure is constantly on the brink of disaster.  Wondering if it can win out against evil is just half the fun!

What a lovely compliment, to know this reviewer thought Brian and Lena’s story was an emotional read.  High praise, indeed. I get very invested in the story as I’m writing it, but I’m so close to the characters by the end that I can only hope some of those feelings translate to the written page.  :-)


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Mar 23 2010

The first review of Bound by Darkness has come in–from RT Book Reviews–and it’s a good one.  I haven’t seen the text of the review yet, but Brian and Lena’s story earned 4 ½  stars out of a possible 5 . . .  and that rocks!!  As crazy as it sounds, I was more worried about how this book would be rated than I was about DrawnBound was the first book I wrote under contract, with real deadlines. But I love Brian and Lena, and I’m thrilled to see someone else does, too!

As soon as I have the text of the review, I’ll share. :-)

RITA Books

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Jan 20 2010

This year, for the first time, I volunteered to judge the RWA’s RITA Award contest. I judged the Golden Heart contest several times when I was unpublished and found some terrific new authors that way, because a number of them went on to be published.

Yesterday, I received my box of RITA books, and when I opened it up, I discovered eight books I’ve never read. Eight! What a wonderful treasure trove. I’m still deep in the writing of book 3, and I’m also doing page proof corrections for Bound by Darkness, so reading the books will come a distant third on my priority list for a while. But I’m soooo looking forward to several evenings curled up on the La-Z-Boy with a book in hand. And just think, I kinda get to justify it as “work”.  Isn’t that cool?

Danke Schön

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Nov 24 2009

I’m thrilled to announce that Drawn into Darkness and Bound by Darkness have sold to the German market. Yay! I’m not sure when the translated books will appear on shelves–it can take a while–but it’s terrific news. I’ll update you with more details when I have them.