May Critique Giveaway!

Continuing with my goal of giving back to the writing community every month in 2017 — in May I’m giving away a 10 page critique, and a query critique!

Note: To be eligible to win, you must follow me on Twitter at the time of the drawing.

Good luck! And may the odds be ever in your favor.

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New Writing Podcast! Talking INDIE TIDBITS with Dawn Husted

I’m so excited to host this post for Dawn Husted today, so she can tell you all about her awesome new podcast, INDIE TIDBITS! 


Hello Dea! Or as we say in this town, HOWDY! Howdy is in my roots. I graduated from Texas A&M, born and raised in Aggie land. I can’t remember if I use Howdy in the podcast, but I should start.

In a roundabout way, I’ve mentioned the podcast! That’s right, the INDIE TIDBITS podcast.

Indie Tidbits is a channel for writers who are thinking of taking the indie route to publishing. It’s also for hybrid authors.

I created the podcast a couple of weeks ago, because I wanted to help fellow writers who didn’t know where to begin when self-publishing. I published my first book in 2013, and I launched it all wrong. Promoted it all wrong. I did a lot of stuff wrong.

I’m in the middle of launching a new book. Through the years, I’ve learned so much about the process of promoting, editing, formatting, proofreading, critiquing, and now publishing. My head literally hurts from all the knowledge. I constantly take notes that I compile into podcasts.

If you’re one of these authors who are interested in learning more about indie publishing and what to do next, tune into Stitcher or iTunes, search for Indie Tidbits. I also post these episodes on YouTube. The episodes follow my journey to publishing, shouting tons of tips and advice through the microphone of my computer. I’ll be interviewing a few authors, artists, and marketers from time to time. The first author being: NL Hoffmann. She’s the author of seven books, one having over 100 reviews on Amazon.

So be sure to have your paper and pen ready! Thanks for having me Dea. Hopefully, I’ll get to welcome you to the Indie Tidbits guest list soon!


Dawn Husted is the author of Scythe of Darkness, a YA urban fantasy novel.She thought up the premise one night, originally writing the setting in a dystopian world. She graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in Human Resources. Two years later, her passion for writing grew. When not writing, she’s either camping or dreaming about camping. She’s a member of SCBWI, and lives in southern Texas with her husband and two kids. Find out more at

Stone of Power: Keepers of Earth Book 1 – Signed Paperback Giveaway!

I’m so excited to be hosting a giveaway for Stone of Power: Keepers of Earth Book 1 by Kimberly A. Riley! Not only do you get this awesome book for FREE — It’s also SIGNED!! (Sorry guys, the shipping for this is U.S. Only!)

When Earth faces a serious threat from collapsing alternate dimensions, it handpicks individuals, called Keepers, to locate and obtain special Stones that have the power to restore balance to the universe.

Andrew is trying to impress his new girlfriend Christine at the carnival when he meets the Keepers. Drawn to them by an unidentifiable familiarity, Andrew follows them. Thrust into a world of harrowing adventure, he journeys through various dimensions and encounters Venom, a man who holds the one thing the Keepers desperately need to save Earth—the Stone of Power.

But Venom has other ideas about what Earth needs and threatens the Keepers’ plans at every phase of their mission. In these new realms of danger and even horror, Andrew must find his own power in order to make the sacrifices necessary to save Earth. As Andrew begins to fight back, he realizes he and Venom have a lot more in common than he thought.


“Stone of Power presents an incredibly interesting world. I’m a sucker for an interesting sci-fi or fantasy setting. This book combines a mostly sci-fi tech world with a little fantasy magic. The way this world is revealed is very well thought out. It’s revealed as Andrew and Christine encounter it. Each time you get a little piece of the world, it’s enough to understand the immediate scene, but not so much that you tune out due to a wall of exposition (I’m looking at you later books in the Dune series). Each time something about the world was divulged it made me want to know more about how things worked, not because it didn’t explain enough, but because what was shown was intriguing.

I appreciate how scientifically accurate or at least plausible the science and tech are presented. Explanations for how things work make sense. They’re concise, fit with the story and pacing, and factual. You can tell the author was a science teacher, and judging by this book, was a darn good one.

This is ostensibly a young adult novel, but it does not get caught up in teen angst nor does it suffer from bland stereotypical and/or “braindead” characters. The characters are interesting and well-written. Those we see more of have complex and believable motivations. What’s revealed about the other characters makes me look forward to learning more about them in future books. Those few times when characters say or do the “braindead” or non-ideal thing, it makes sense given what the characters are going through. It’s much more complex than just, “Me teen, me have hormones.”

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Interesting world, interesting characters, interesting motivations for the villian, and had me suffering from the “just one more chapter” syndrome.” – T. Gilbert

“An absolute blast to read that really hooks more as it goes, and the first book in a long time that cost me sleep because I went “I’ll stop at the next chapter.. or the next.” – Daniel J. Hodge

“It’s an excellent story for any kid who loves comic books and science!” – EricaPossible


Kimberly Riley grew up in a small town in Southeast Texas and now lives in the outskirts of Austin with her husband, dog, birds, and numerous fish. Originally a high school science teacher, she has taken a break from teaching to become a full time author. Her love of science fiction and fantasy influences her writing and her artwork. She spends her free time painting (mostly dragons), playing D&D, and teaching her birds to whistle the Imperial March.




Twitter: @KARiley40

Fine print: To be eligible to win, at the time of the drawing you must follow Dea Poirier and Kimberly Riley on Twitter. If you do not follow, you will not be eligible to win. Bot and Spam accounts will not be eligible to win. U.S. Only.

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April Query Critique Giveaway

Continuing with my goal of giving back to the writing community every month in 2017 — in April I’m giving away 1 query critique to a winner — along with three critiques for them to gift to other writers!

Note: To be eligible to win, you must follow me on Twitter at the time of the drawing.

Good luck! And may the odds be ever in your favor.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

So — you wanna be a Beta or CP?

Being a critique partner and/or beta reader

Being a critique partner or beta reader can mean different things to different people. Critique partners are typically  other writers that you exchange work with, and give each other very detailed feedback. My main CP and I exchange everything, articles, manuscripts, rough drafts, short stories and sometimes blog posts (hiiii Elesha).

Beta readers are a bit different, they may not be writers, they may just be readers of your genre. Beta readers will give you a more general idea of your work, not a detailed critique.

Keep in mind, being a beta or a critique partner is about providing helpful feedback, and making another writer’s work shine — it’s not about ripping their MS apart, putting them down, or destroying their vision. It is their MS, they may not take all of your advice, they may only take advice that resonates with them (and that’s fine, because it’s their story). Also consider how you give feedback, point out the things that are working well, things you like, parts that make you laugh, not just the parts that need work — varied feedback really helps!

So, you want to be a beta reader?

You might be asking yourself, how can I be a good beta reader? First ask the author if there’s anything in particular they want you to give feedback on, if they have items take a note of those and keep them in mind. You will typically only read the MS once.

My other recommendation would be to keep an eye out for the following:

  • Continuity
  • Plot holes
  • Overall flow (are there slow spots)
  • Under developed characters

Things that aren’t your problem as a beta:

  • Line edits
  • Grammar

As a beta, you are just trying to give the writer a general idea if their project is working for you as a reader. You are not their editor.

So, you want to be a critique partner?

What makes a good CP? Someone loves your work like it’s their own. If you’re a CP, buckle in and prepare to read a MS more than once. You’ll need to keep an eye out for any issues with the MS, but keep in mind everyone has their own editing style and strengths.

As a CP keep an eye an out for the following:

  • Voice
  • Tone
  • Plot, character,  and sub plot arcs
  • Continuity
  • Plot holes
  • Overall flow (are there slow spots)
  • Under developed characters
  • Grammar
  • Word usage
  • History/world building/magic use, etc.

When looking for a CP or beta, be sure to find someone with a feedback/editing style that suits your needs — and vice versa. Some writers have very specific needs when it comes to feedback. For example, I know that the ‘compliment sandwich’ is a very popular method, but this method doesn’t work for me. I’m not good at providing that type of feedback, nor do I care about receiving feedback in that manner.

How fast am I expected to read?

This varies. My recommendation is to consider how long it normally takes you to read a book, and give yourself a few extra days on top of that. When you’re reading as a Beta or CP, the process is slower — you’re making notes, you’re considering the plot, etc. It’s not as cut and dry as picking up a book off a shelf and plowing through it. Give yourself a realistic deadline and let the author know what your timeline looks like — normally the author will tell you if that’s okay or not.

Where do I find authors that want me to CP or Beta?

My recommendation for this is Twitter. There are other methods, writing boards, CP/Beta matchups on blogs, etc. But I’ve found my favorite CPs and betas on Twitter. If you search for beta readers, you can often find authors that are tweeting about their books, hoping to find someone willing to read it.

If you have any questions about being a CP or beta that you’d like me to answer here, tweet at me!


Cover Reveal – Vicki L. Weavil’s Mirror of Immortality Trilogy

I’m so excited to help with the cover reveal of Vicki L. Weavil’s Mirror of Immortality Trilogy today!

Look at these gorgeous covers!!

Title: Crown of Ice
Author: Vicki L. Weavil
Release Date: May 9, 2017
Publisher: Snowy Wings Publishing

Snow Queen Thyra Winther is immortal, but if she can’t reassemble a shattered enchanted mirror by her eighteenth birthday she’s doomed to spend eternity as a wraith.

Armed with magic granted by a ruthless wizard, Thyra schemes to survive with her mind and body intact. Unencumbered by kindness, she kidnaps local boy Kai Thorsen, whose mathematical skills rival her own. Two logical minds, Thyra calculates, are better than one. With time rapidly melting away she needs all the help she can steal.

A cruel lie ensnares Kai in her plan, but three missing mirror shards and Kai’s childhood friend, Gerda, present more formidable obstacles.

Thyra’s willing to do anything – venture into uncharted lands, outwit sorcerers, or battle enchanted beasts — to reconstruct the mirror, yet her most dangerous adversary lies within her. Touched by the warmth of a wolf pup’s devotion and the fire of a young man’s love, the thawing of Thyra’s frozen heart could prove her ultimate undoing.

Add Crown of Ice on Goodreads!


Cover designed by Deranged Doctor Design

Title: Scepter of Fire
Author: Vicki L. Weavil
Release Date: May 23, 2017
Publisher: Snowy Wings Publishing

She’s the ugly duckling in a family of swans. But Varna Lund is determined to live a life that matters.

Ridiculed by the young men of her village, Varna vows she’ll become the finest healer in the land. The skills she’s learned from her ancient mentor prove vital when she encounters Erik Stahl, a young soldier who deserted the battlefield to carry an injured friend to safety. Aided by her sister Gerda, she cares for the soldiers in secret.

When betrayal catapults the four young people into life on the run, Varna encounters her former mentor—now revealed as the sorcerer, Sten Rask. Seeking an enchanted mirror that offers unlimited power, Rask appears determined to seduce Varna to his side.

To protect their country, Varna and her companions form an alliance with a former Snow Queen, a scholar, and an enchantress. But when Rask tempts her with beauty and power, Varna’s heart becomes a battlefield. Caught between loyalty to her companions and a man whose kisses ignite a fire on her lips, Varna must choose—embrace her own desires, or fight for a society that’s always spurned her.

Add Scepter of Fire on Goodreads!

About the Author:

Vicki L. Weavil turned her early obsession with reading into a career as a librarian. After obtaining a B.A. in Theatre from the University of Virginia, she continued her education by receiving a Masters in Library Science and a M.A. in Liberal Studies. She is currently the Library Director for a performing and visual arts university.

An avid reader who appreciates good writing in all genres, Vicki has been known to read seven books in as many days. When not writing or reading, she likes to spend her time watching films, listening to music, gardening, or traveling. Vicki, who writes in other genres under the pennames V. E. Lemp and Victoria Gilbert, is represented by Frances Black of Literary Counsel, NY, NY. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and some very spoiled cats.

Visit Vicki online at, or on Twitter at @VickiLWeavil or Facebook at @VickiLWeavil.


Stolen Ink ARC Giveaway!

I’m super excited to be running this giveaway for Holly Evans! She’s been kind enough to give away an ebook ARC of her book Stolen Ink!

What’s Stolen Ink?

A gay tattoo magician, (who should probably stop cursing the gods quite so much), must work with an LGBT cast to stop a tattoo thief before more people are killed. – Urban Fantasy.

Stolen Ink (Ink Born 1) blurb.

I’m Dacian, a tattoo magician, and my life went from my biggest concern being finding a pretty guy to fall into bed with at the end of the week to everything falling apart around me.

There are two problems in my life.

Number one – I’m an ink magician, the thing of myths. A lot of very powerful people would love to get their hands on me, and I have no intention of letting that happen.

Number two – A tattoo thief came to my city, and the magical community has decided that I’m the guy to stop them.

Somehow, I have to catch the thief without letting my secret out of the bag, and that’s even harder than it sounds.

— and look at this GORGEOUS cover you guys!

So, how do you win? Use the widget below!

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Be sure to follow Holly Evans on Twitter, and check out her other books on Amazon and Goodreads!

March Critique Giveaway


1 winner: Chapter Critique (up to 25 pages)

1 winner: A query + synopsis critique

1 winner: A query critique


While you’re here — maybe you should also sign up for email updates about my book — The Next Girl to Die 😉

Note: To be eligible to win, you must follow me on Twitter at the time of the drawing. Winners will be able to select their prize in the order they are drawn. Critiques CAN be gifted to other writers if you do not need the critique.

Good luck! And may the odds be ever in your favor.


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Dea Answers Your Query Questions!

When is it okay to start querying a new project? Do you need to wait for all the stragglers to come back with rejections or can I simply wait out the typical 6-8 week window and move on?

In my opinion, if you decide it’s time to shift gears and query another project, you should look at that strategically. Ideally, when sending your queries out, you aren’t querying EVERY agent at once. Likely you’re sending out small batches of queries. (If you aren’t sending out small batches of queries, please reconsider. Sending out large batches won’t allow you to change your query, or adjust your work easily based on feedback).

So, if you are sending out these small batches of queries — I would send to the agents that you haven’t queried in the longest period of time, then move down your list from there.

BIG NOTE HERE, I am not an agent. This is my thought based on my own querying experience (and what I’ve seen some agents mention in interviews). I think it’s safe to query a new project to agents you’ve already queried if you’ve given at least 6 weeks in between projects. You don’t need everyone to say no to your previous project before moving on. (There will be some agents who will never reply)

Some agents may have given interviews where they specifically say how often is too often to query new projects — so if you’re really concerned, I’d look at agent interviews for details.

Have a question about querying, writing, or how much I love Godzilla, that you want me to answer on my blog? DM your questions to me on twitter!


To celebrate reaching 1500 followers on my @deapoirierbooks Twitter account, I’m giving away a copy of one of my favorite books, and two critiques!


1 winner: A copy of Choke by Chuck Palahniuk

1 winner: A query + synopsis critique

1 winner: A query critique

Note: To be eligible to win, you must follow me on Twitter at the time of the drawing. For the book prize, the shipping for the prize is available to the US only. Winners will be able to select their prize in the order they are drawn. Critiques CAN be gifted to other writers if you do not need the critique.

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