Yup. That worked like gangbusters: 1376 words, 58,903 total

By Holly Lisle

I ripped out a big chunk of happy, and replaced it with mean, bad, terrible, monstrous, scary…

The happy is now all the way at the end of the book, where it belongs, not right smack dab in the middle where things are supposed to be going from bad to worse.

So now things are goodin that they have gone from really bad to way, WAY worse. My main character (MC) is in hellish trouble, the person who was supposed to help my MC has been made so dangerous to her that the character tasked with protecting my MC’s protector tries to kill its charge… and, oh…

What a tangled mess we weave… (Marmion, Sir Walter Scott)

My MC has to deal with protecting something dangerous from the one who was supposed to protect that, and tomorrow she has to figure out how to start unravelling the nightmare we’re now all firmly knotted up inside.

And that’s Monday.

<insert big, happy grin here> 


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Contents © Holly Lisle. https://hollylisle.com All Rights Reserved

Why I shut down my Patreon fundraiser

By Holly Lisle

I’d intended to send a Questions & Answers email to my How to Write a Novel launch list, but that’s going to have to wait.Instead, I did THIS.

Closed my “Move out of Florida while writing fiction” fundraiser.

Here’s why — it’s this clause in the Patreon Legal Agreement


By posting content to Patreon you grant us a royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, sublicensable, worldwide license to use, reproduce, distribute, perform, publicly display or prepare derivative works of your content.

Understand that I read that clause and all the rest of them before signing up.

BUT… I’m not a lawyer, and I understood that clause to mean that Patreon was claiming the right to use my Patreon-created content (in other words, my POSTS) to promote the site.

I DID NOT think that they were claiming the right to use and abuse the content I was giving my patrons. In this case, three monthly chapters of the raw first draft of one of my current novels in progress, Dead Man’s Party.

A friend emailed me with a link to this post, however:


Turns out, I was wrong. Patreon is claiming rights to my novel.

So I’m out. I sent the first copy of this email to my patrons using a private Patreon post, and then I shut down my Patreon fundraiser, and am now trying to figure out how to actually close my account.

I’m not letting this kill my dream of moving us out of Florida…
…(hopefully before the next hurricane, if not the start of the hurricane season).

How you can help, if you want to —

I have created original classes ranging from under ten dollars to way over a hundred. If one of the classes I offer could help you, then you buying it would help me.


*** How to Write a Novel *** 


(IN LAUNCH: On sale ONLY through Tuesday APRIL 8 — Final Discount Launch)

How to Revise Your Novel: 


How to Write a Series: 


How to Think Sideways: Career Survival School for Writers: 


WRITING CRAFT SERIES (Each class is under $10)

Create a Character Clinic: 


Create A Plot Clinic: 


How to Write Page-Turning Scenes: 


WORLDBUILDING SERIES (Each class is under $10)

Create A Language Clinic: 


Create a Culture Clinic: 


Create a World Clinic: 



How to Write Short Stories: 


How to Write Villains: 


How to Write Dialogue with Subtext: 


Title Cover Copy Marketing Basics: 


How to Find Your Writing Discipline: 


How to Find Your Writing Voice: 


How to Motivate Yourself: 


Beat Writer’s Block: 



How to Write Flash Fiction That Doesn’t Suck




You can help out by buying some of my indie-published fiction.


Light Through Fog: 




Strange Arrivals: 



Fire in the Mist: 


Bones of the Past:


Mind of the Magic:




Both of the Cadence Drake novels Hunting the Corrigan’s Blood and Warpaint, are off sale while I come up with new titles and new cover art for them, and new key words, descriptions, and other marketing that allows me to correctly put them in front of the audience that likes a few vampires and a bit of horror with its spaceships.

The Longview Chronicles (complete Series) is in the same universe — still dark, but without the vampires:


Or you can get the individual stories:

Born from Fire: 


Suzee Delight: 


Philosopher Gambit: 


Gunslinger Moon: 


Vipers’ Nest: 


The Owner’s Tale: 



Minerva Wakes: 



Author Page: 


Midnight Rain: 


Last Girl Dancing:


I See You: 


I have much more fiction that’s commercially published, or which is out of print and has reverted to me, but which I have not yet republished.

I’m not linking to ANY of that fiction, because your purchase of used books or books where publishers haven’t paid royalties in years will not help me.

So there we are.

I want to thank all my patrons again, and I am so sorry that I had to do this, but there is no way I can permit this:

Excerpted from Patreon Legal Terms

You keep full ownership of all content that you post on Patreon, but to operate we need licenses from you.

By posting content to Patreon you grant us a royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, sublicensable, worldwide license to use, reproduce, distribute, perform, publicly display or prepare derivative works of your content. 

No. Just NO.

P.S. I have had one of my Patreon patrons already ask me how she could continue to support me on a monthly basis.

Here’s the answer I gave her:

“I’ll look into what’s available. Right now, I’m crushed to discover the rights Patreon actually claimed, and worried about getting involved with any other site. So I’m in limbo. You’ll find my blog at HollyLisle.com. I’ll be keeping my folks there up to date on how I deal with this. It sucks.

Hugs, and thank you for asking.”

Why is EVERYBODY on my blog, my mailing list, and in my forums getting this?

Because if you know me, you’re probably either a reader or a writer. If you’re a writer, you may be considering using Patreon, and you need to know. If you’re a reader considering funding someone on Patreon, THEY need to know.

And this is the ugliest, broadest rights-grab I have personally ever seen. Or sadly, been caught up in.

Contents © Holly Lisle. https://hollylisle.com All Rights Reserved

The New Paranormal Suspense Covers

By Holly Lisle

I finished the following covers for my upcoming novels today:

Midnight Rain

Midnight Rain: "He'll NEVER forget you..."

Midnight Rain: “He’ll NEVER forget you…”

I See You

I See You: "Someone's watching..."

I See You: “Someone’s watching…”

Last Girl Dancing

Last Girl Dancing: "Don't talk to strangers..."

Last Girl Dancing: “Don’t talk to strangers…”

Night Echoes

Night Echoes: "Your past is waiting..."

Night Echoes: “Your past is waiting…”

Because of a bit of a financial bump, I’m pushing hard to get all the backlist up in the next couple of months. To my amazement (because I thought exactly the opposite), I think the suspense novels are going to take the longest. I’m having to go through them and edit to bring the late-draft manuscript versions I have up to the published versions.

The scans don’t have to be rewritten. They just have to be edited, and my guys (and in two cases, my co-authors) are working on that.

So my release schedule is going to change completely, and will probably start with either the Arhel trilogy or the Devil’s Point trilogy.

But there will be books soon. 😀

Contents © Holly Lisle. https://hollylisle.com All Rights Reserved

A Book Giveaway (sort of)

By Holly Lisle

Lots of my novels for free if you’ll pay the postage.

I underestimated the extent of my problem. And I do have a few copies of some of the later Baen books. And I found the missing Vengeance of Dragons copies. Lots of them.
My Problem, Part One
My Problem, Part Two

Any more volunteers?

Also, much to my amazement, I have no remaining copies of the historical thing. Many apologies. Holly

P.S. The scary thing is, I suspect there are still more books hiding in corners. I’m afraid.

SATURDAY: The Original Post

I have a bunch of copies of my own work I need to get rid of.

  • I’d have one massive contest and winners galore, but I can’t afford the shipping for that many books.
  • I can’t sell them–that’s in the contracts.
  • I don’t want to dump them at libraries; I’d rather give them to individual folks.
  • I considered doing a Books of the Wild thing, where I’d send boxes of books to people who agreed to send all but one of the books out into the world to meet new people, who could then log into a Wild Books Tracking Station to note where they got their book, and where they passed it on when they were done with it, with rules taped into the inside front covers to let the readers know how to find and log into the tracking station, (I thought this would be particularly cool) but as previously noted, I don’t have the money for all that shipping, and I can’t ask folks to pay shipping and then only keep one book.


I have at least a few of most of my more recent books (most of my post-Baen work) and a lot of a few of them. And I have some flat rate shipping boxes that ship to anywhere in the US for $8.95. In order to cover PayPal fees and packing up the box, add an extra dollar–total US shipping will be $9.95. Each box will comfortably fit 6 paperbacks, and as long as they last, one hardcover or galley. When I run out of hardcovers and galleys, I’ll throw in three extra paperbacks. (These are likely to be duplicates. If I have to send duplicates and you didn’t indicate that you wanted them, I’ll let you know before you pay for the shipping.)

If you’re willing to pay the postage, I’ll ship you a box of mixed books. If you don’t mind duplicates (to give to friends, for example), please note this in your entry. I have quite a few paperback Talyns, for example.

I’ll autograph one book in each box–I hurt my wrists, the right one especially, from too much knitting, which I’ve been using to deal with stress, and typing is painful and hand-writing pure agony. (Forget knitting. At the moment, I can barely hold yarn.) So give me your wish-list of three books you’d like to own in autographed form in order of your preference, and if I have it, I’ll sign and include one of those three books in the box. If I don’t, I’ll pick what I think is the best book in the box and autograph that one. These books won’t be personalized, just dated and signed. I apologize for this, because I usually personalize unless requested not to, but … pain. We’re not going to mention how exciting it is to type this.

I also have a couple of surprises (still my books, but special or odd in some way or another). No comment on those, but they’ll ship in the first boxes to go out.

All books are new, unread, but some do have dings on corners or other flaws–the boxes seem to pass through punishment testing en route to me from time to time.

If you enjoy ancient historical fiction, note this and I’ll throw in an unrelated book of which I happen to have a whole bunch of copies. If you really like it, I’ll send a few extra (I have lots and lots of copies). Just ask.

Here are the rules:

  1. You have to have some way of using PayPal, whether through your own PayPal account, a debit card, credit card, or checking account, to do this.
  2. Don’t send any money until I’ve packed your box and contacted you (and we’ve agreed on the shipping price if you’re outside the US).
  3. Special requests are first come, first served.
  4. All book boxes are ALSO first come, first served.
  5. If you have any books you already have and don’t want to accidentally get another of (even to pass on), please list these.
  6. The times on replies will serve as the final arbiter of who asked first. I will religiously check the spam and rescue requests while this offer is ongoing. If you have fallen afoul of the spam-catcher, let me know right away at holly AT hollylisle DOT com.
  7. This offer is only good until I run out of books.

The average value of a box of 6 paperback books with one hardcover will be about $67. I can’t guess the value of the galleys, but to collectors, I’m sure they’re fairly valuable. Average value of a box of nine paperbacks without a hardcover or galley will be about $63. If you’re outside the US, keep this number in mind when figuring shipping. You don’t want to pay more than the value of the books, and you’d probably want to stop at about half the value. For orders outside the US, we’ll figure on a case-by-case basis. You’re never obligated to buy–if shipping is too much for your budget, I can pack up just one or two books for you in a sturdy envelope or little box, or you can pass your box on to the next person on the list.

Make sure your e-mail address in your account on this weblog is correct, because that’s how I’ll contact each of you.

That’s it. If you’re interested, let me know here. The giveaway starts now.

Contents © Holly Lisle. https://hollylisle.com All Rights Reserved

If I Brought Lambs

By Holly Lisle

The novel LAST GIRL DANCING was born as IF I BROUGHT LAMBS, on 9/1/96, with the following poem that I wrote. I’ve included the whole page, because initially each chapter was supposed to be preceded by a poem from the killer, and, finding it this morning, I thought the header was kind of funny. Along with this poem, I just discovered the synopsis for that previous version of the story.

The core idea so horrified my then-agent that he told me the book could never sell, and the core idea is what finally sold, though through a different agent. Which goes to show that different agents have different opinions of the same things.

Here’s the page:

A Collection of Psycho Poetry for


if i brought lambs, lambs
to slaughter, my fairest Carida,
would you feed me
would you make me
sweet stews from the livers,
rich pies from the kidneys

or would you chastise me
Carida, Carida
for killing the tender young lambs?

The poetry didn’t make it to LAST GIRL DANCING. The killer did. So I thought I’d share the poetry, too, as an odd aside.

I’ll note that this is the only Psycho Poem I wrote for the book–the problem with including psycho poetry is that to get it, you have to be your own psycho. Ugh.

Contents © Holly Lisle. https://hollylisle.com All Rights Reserved

Autographed Books Hit the Mail

By Holly Lisle

I spent a couple of hours last night autographing the nine copies of Talyn for Sheila’s contest winners.

“A couple of hours?” you say.

Well, for some of them, I came up with all-new Old Tonk Proverbs. On some, I drew the winner’s Tonk monogram. (This would appropriately be worn tattooed between the shoulder blades, directly above the monogram of one’s saint. One’s clan mark, of course is tattooed on one’s left palm.) I struggled to think of meaningful things to say.

Yah, I can whip out a signature with the best of them, but there are only about nine autographed copies of the hardcover version of Talyn in the world right at the moment, and I wanted them to be special.

My congratulations again to all the winners.

(I do special things for the books I sign in person, too, so long as the lines are reasonable. Mine usually are. [insert sigh here])

Contents © Holly Lisle. https://hollylisle.com All Rights Reserved

Pausing to Think

By Holly Lisle

Novel outline is going well, but I needed a break, so I surfed. Douglas Hoffman gave a nice review of Last Girl Dancing; Jcop wants to know where the fourth book in the WORLD GATES series is (Hint: When I’m howlingly successful, the publisher will probably want the last four planned books. Meantime, I did the best I could to give the series closure); Danjel Bout offers a clear look at his location, a place as alien as the surface of Mars; Stuart McBride rants well on an example of breathtaking responsibility avoidance; Zette Gifford (who’s now just shy of 8000 writers in the FM Writers’ Community), offers some insight into working with writers; Carter offers an essay on Us vs. Not-Us (my take on the same issue is Common Ground: Holding Communities Together, plus the entire novel Talyn. This is a subject that compels and fascinates me.

First time I’ve had a chances to look at other folks’ weblogs in a couple of weeks, and it was shorter than I would have wished. Deadlines compel, and one of the migraines that have been hovering and diving for the last couple of weeks is hovering now.

Contents © Holly Lisle. https://hollylisle.com All Rights Reserved

“Reports of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated”

By Holly Lisle

Quote from Twain. Some numbers from Midnight Rain. ‘Cause you know I was to the point of reinventing myself because of my fear of the numbers on Midnight Rain, and the fact that I’d heard it hadn’t done as well as everyone hoped.

How well did it do?

In its first reporting period, it earned out its own $25,000 advance plus all but about $2000 of Last Girl Dancing‘s advance.

In its first reporting period, it sold over 50,000 more copies than any title of mine has ever sold before in a first period, and about that many more than most of my titles have sold lifetime.

It had an acceptable sell-through. Not earth-shattering. I was hoping for the 80%-97% sell-through that most of my other books have averaged, but the fact that this was essentially a first novel, that it was shelved where most of the people who have been my readership for the last fourteen years will never have found it, and that a LOT of copies were printed make that kind of sell-through nearly impossible. It’s almost certain to have sold almost entirely to readers for whom this was the first introduction to my work.

So Midnight Rain didn’t do as well as everyone hoped? No, it didn’t. When you’re hoping for break-out bestsellerdom, it didn’t do that.

It did, however, do well for a first novel. If I can find any sort of repeat readership from the folks who liked it, and who I hope went out and bought Last Girl Dancing because they liked it, I might have something solid to build on.

No gimmes here. I’m not out of the woods — you’re only as good as your last book, and Last Girl Dancing is, in suspense, my book of the moment.

Still, the Twain quote in the title seemed apt. I’m still alive as a suspense writer. Still kicking. And almost ready to send the outline for the third book off.

Contents © Holly Lisle. https://hollylisle.com All Rights Reserved

Amazon/ WalMart

By Holly Lisle

Fascinating discussion here about the difference between Amazon numbers and WalMart numbers.

Link via Alison Kent

As someone who, for the first time in my career, has (with my debut into suspense) landed a couple of titles on WalMart shelves, I’m more than a bit interested in what effect this will really have on my sales. Won’t see even first inklings until around this December, but if I can get any meaninful numbers, I’ll share.

Contents © Holly Lisle. https://hollylisle.com All Rights Reserved

Last Run, and Done

By Holly Lisle

Ended with 96,407 after finishing a sentence I left unfinished in the last ten-minute chat run. 3176 words for the day. To the post office now to mail LGD. Then back to see about adding some to the proposal idea I came up with for Claire. And then some reading on TALYN, which has to be done.


Contents © Holly Lisle. https://hollylisle.com All Rights Reserved