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The aftermath of a book release

Well, I am certainly guilty of disappearing. The push to fix a dozen last minute details in a novel, put it and all other promotional items into place, and be present online for a book release is a lot for us introverts!

On the positive front, I’m working on book 3 in The Luminated Threads series. The draft from last year’s Nano is a bit rough, and of course there are many changes to make due to changes I’ve made in books 1 & 2. So that’s a nice way of saying, it’ll take me longer than I thought it would.

Nothing for it but to get down to work. I’m sad to report I had to give up my Nano efforts. I find it too hard to switch my head between two books and, honestly, I don’t want to delay book 3, The Binding.

In other news, I’m giving away a paperback copy of The Unraveling during a fellow indie author’s Facebook Release Party on Wednesday, November 18, 2015.

Magda Alexander A Kiss to Remember Release Party

Join me and a number of authors with many giveaways to celebrate romantic suspense author Magda Alexander’s new release, A Christmas Kiss to Remember, with a Facebook Release Party.

On the eve of NaNoWriMo…

NaNo (National Novel Writing Month) is a big deal to writers, a commitment to writing a 50,000 word story. In a month. The month of November…tomorrow. Here’s an article I found on Erin Morgenstern’s blog:

An essay by Chuck Wendig on Why you should do NaNoWriMo…and why you shouldn’t.

Ok I decided a few weeks ago I would participate this year, mainly because I *think* I need to learn to write every day on a new story while continuing to edit the present story. That hasn’t been my process so far, and maybe it can’t be. But November is a good month to test the theory. So here I am:

NoNo 2015 Participation badge

However, I hadn’t decided on a story. Tonight I had to commit.

It’s a futuristic I’ve worked on plotting several times, including most recently in Cherry Adair’s Master Plotting Class. Poor thing, it deserves a chance to be written. For the purposes of NaNo, I’m calling it “The Floating Islands Story” and this is the “cover” I assigned it:

Sky photoI’ve flown across the country many times in the last two years taking care of a family property that was in the 2013 floods in Colorado. I’ve drawn inspiration for this story while staring out the airplane window.

The synopsis I wrote in less than 2 minutes to fill in the blank on the NaNo form: Animatronics, saving a princess, recycling water, rocks like pumice and many other interesting ideas strung together in a story in which a girl from the city, meets a boy from another world when his floating island is brought to Earth through a wormhole.

If you are also a NaNo participant, feel free to follow me: laurelwanrow

If you see lots of strange tweets from me, it’s because I’m an avid NaNo sprinter with @nanowordsprints — a fun bunch!

Have a great month everyone!




Learning how to add a link using my book cover

I often follow up on readers who comment on my blog, checking their blogs to see what they are up to. One recently was Ana Spoke, who has been posting about her debut release, Shizzle, Inc. Ana has offered many tips for we newbies, including how to post your cover on WordPress blogs with a buy link embedded. See right over there ——>  🙂

Visit Ana’s quick instructions for adding a link to Amazon. I have a small addition because, being a Luddite, my first attempt at adding my cover image failed. My ‘Kindle’ cover image is very high resolution. When I put its media Image URL into the widget box, I got a huge, only-seeing-one-edge view of my cover. I went back to my image widget dimensions and tried to set them at zero, but it didn’t work.

Instead, I made a new image copy and used the preview program tools to adjust the size to 2 in wide.


The Unraveling coverThe program scaled the cover proportionally, and then when I switched to pixel view I was able to grab the dimensions (144 x 223).

PixelsI popped them into the widget’s width and height boxes and everything worked!



Matte or Glossy?

My second proof has arrived and the interior is per-fect. (finally!) I’m taking another day to decide glossy or matte? Matte or glossy? I really like the feel of the matte, but these colors really pop in glossy! A photo doesn’t quite show the difference, but here it is:

The Unraveling, Volume One of The Luminated Threads

Matte on left, glossy on right. Any opinions? I need to order the prize books for the givaway!

Speaking of that, the giveaway is still on for another week. Best entry–IMHO–is my newsletter sign-up! I won’t spam you, and you get five entries and notification of the releases of all three volumes of The Luminated Threads . Do it here: Laurel’s Newsletter
One (1) winner gets a $10 Amazon gift card, and two (2) winners get paperbacks of The Unraveling by Laurel Wanrow (US/CA/UK)
Ends June 10, 2015
This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.

At last: My cover for THE UNRAVELING


Welcome to my cover reveal for The Unraveling, Volume One of The Luminated Threads!

Isn’t it beautiful? I’m so very lucky to be working with the creative and talented Craig Shields. (I wrote a post about him a few days ago—see it here.)

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About the Book:

In 1868 England, the competition to control agriculture is fierce…

…and nobody says no to Derby’s industrial magnate.

Except Annmar Masterson. The nineteen-year-old rejects his improper advances and instead takes an advertising position on a farm. She discovers the isolated valley is home to gifted species—including animal and plant shifters—who hide their lives from the rest of England. The blue threads only she sees on their clockwork machinery prove her heritage is rooted with theirs, but their world is so different that Annmar doesn’t know if she’ll ever belong.

Shapeshifter Daeryn Darkcoat blames himself for the death of his mate and swears he won’t be responsible for another pack. But when the farm he loves falls victim to an endless run of strange pests eating the crops, he joins the hunt, taking charge of an unruly team of predator shifters. In the midst of the battle, Annmar stirs feelings he can’t resist.

As Annmar becomes entangled in the fight against the pests, and with Daeryn, she discovers her magic might help…if she can learn to use it properly. If not, she’ll be forced to leave the people she has come to care for and become what she fears most: nothing more than another cog in the magnate’s gears.

THE UNRAVELING is a full-length novel, approximately 350 pages, for readers 18+ (new adult and older).

Please note: This is volume 1 of a three-part serialized novel. Volumes 2 & 3 will be published in 2015 to complete THE LUMINATED THREADS, a steampunk fantasy romance. To be notified of these releases, sign up for Laurel’s Newsletter.


Preorder from Amazon for the special price of only .99 cents!

Because the cover just uploaded, the “Look Inside” feature isn’t active. To read the first chapters, click here.

The Unraveling releases June 23, 2015, in ebook and trade paperback.

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Connect with me!

My Pinterest boards feature many images I’ve collected as I’ve researched The Luminated Threads.

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One (1) winner gets a $10 Amazon gift card, and two (2) winners get paperbacks of The Unraveling by Laurel Wanrow (US/CA/UK)
Ends June 10, 2015

This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.

What is ‘A Steampunk Fantasy Romance’?

I’m using the tag ‘A Steampunk Fantasy Romance’ to describe The Unraveling, but my novel isn’t all about gears and steam.

gears on steam engine

Steampunk falls within the science fiction genre. Libraries and bookstores will categorize my novel as: Fiction/science fiction/steampunk

But that still doesn’t explain it. So, think Jules Verne. He lived and wrote in the 1800s, and is considered the founder of science fiction. Steampunk is a kind of revival of his style of stories: A Victorian setting–or at least Victorian sensibilities–with fantastical machinery, powered by steam, or aether, or…something! That’s the fun part, the part I made up, the ‘fantasy’ part. And just to make it even more fun, I tossed in shapeshifters. And a romance, or two…I cannot imagine a story without a happily ever after.

Best Fantasy Books has the best explanation of steampunk fantasy I’ve seen, complete with a reading list. I’ve read a number of their selections, but not all. Jules Verne’s 20 Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine were two of my favorites as a teenager.

Here’s a list of my more recent favorites…heavily weighted in young adult, because I really do read YA.

Leviathan, plus 2 sequels, by Scott Westerfeld

Clockwork Angel, plus 2 sequels, by Cassandra Clare

Souless, numerous sequels, by Gail Carriger

The Golden Compass, plus 2 sequels, by Phillip Pullman

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

Steampunk! An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories, edited by Kelly Link

The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

And a new release I mentioned a few weeks ago by one of my writing partners: The Rooftop Inventor by Nooce Miller

In case you’re still wondering, gears and steam do play a part in my novel…and they will be right there on the cover to assure you they’re in the story, too! Join me for my cover reveal in three days!

Five days to go until…

My cover reveal!

If I was a gif person you’d see me cheering, but instead I have still photo… of a tiny piece of the cover, because, you know, the cover reveal isn’t until May 26th. (!)

Sprouting Star Press / The Unraveling

What is that Sprouting Star, you ask? Well, that’s me. I wanted to do all I could to have my self-published print book look like a traditionally published paperback. I had planned to use a little logo my family used for a rubber stamp to do letterboxing while we traveled. (Sorry, I just probably generated another question: What’s letterboxing?) But when I asked my daughter to make a vector of it, she suggested I needed something more representative of my book themes–magic and people’s ties to the land– and to my tag–fantasy tuned to the magic of the land.

She was right, of course, since she is art-savvy and I am not. But the amazing thing was while talking, she sketched it out and said, “Here. Sprouting Star.”

So I became Sprouting Star Press, and I love the look my talented daughter devised!

Sprouting Star Press: The Unraveling

She even sent me one version in an amazing fake embossed look!

BTW, my Mary Behre has completed my cover pendant. I should have it before the cover reveal!

I have a cover!

Yes, The Unraveling has a cover! It’s bright and shiny and everything I wanted in a fantasy cover. So much so, I’m saving it for a cover reveal. That’ll be May 26th. In the meantime, I wanted to share a little thing some authors do when they really love their covers: They have jewelry made.


I saw this beauty for Unchained Memory when I went to my friend Donna Frelick’s launch and another writer friend gifted her this lovely pendant!

Author Mary Behre has been making cover jewelry for a few years now, starting back when several friends debuted with ebooks and didn’t have a physical book to hold. She told me, “I wanted them to have something tangible to celebrate the incredible accomplishment of getting published.”

Her side business took off from there. When Mary isn’t under the crunch of a deadline herself, she makes them for other authors…and herself!

Tidewater Pendants

These are titles from Mary’s Tidewater series.

If you might be interested, you can contact Mary through her website ( ) or at authormarybehre AT She sells them for $20 plus shipping.

I’ve ordered mine! Depending on Mary’s schedule, I’ll post a photo at my cover reveal or hopefully by publishing…which will be June 23!

Meeting the dogs within the story

I’ve been deep in edits with a shapeshifter story, but hadn’t realized how frequently I feature animals in my other stories until I attended the World of Pets Expo this weekend.

Our guinea pig rescue group—yes, MGPR, a guinea pig rescue, as I had to confirm many times during my shift—sets up a booth alongside other small pet rescues, such as House Rabbit Society, Luna’s House, and a rat rescue I didn’t get the name of. I visited with a chinchilla. The bird fanciers are across the way. That’s our usual corner, but unusual for Pet Expo. At Pet Expo, small pets are in the minority: dogs rule!

Dogs at World of Pets Expo

People can more easily bring their dogs out in January’s weather, and they are less skittish in the busy setting. I’d only taken one photo of this little cutie, an Italian Greyhound, and frankly hadn’t thought a whole lot about the dogs.

Italian Greyhound

But then an Irish Wolfhound walked by.

I knew what it was immediately—from photos…and my research for a story. Yes, I have featured an Irish Wolfhound in a science fiction romance, BUT…I had never seen one IRL!

Lady with Irish Wolfhound

I stopped them. “This is an Irish Wolfhound, right?”

“Yes.” (Actually she was quite pleased I recognized the breed.)

“May I take a picture?”

This lady was my height – 5’4”…The dog is huge, just as I wanted him to be. In my novel Passages, the wolfhound knocks over a guard, just by leaping his paws to the man’s shoulders.

His face was just as square, his hair just as wiry, and his temperament just as calm as I had learned through reading. Meeting him made me feel very good about my selection of a wolfhound for my novel. I was so pleased, I can’t remember the dog’s name, and I know I asked.

Irish Wolfhound

About an hour later, a man passed with a small black dog. OMG! “Is that a Schipperke?” I asked my rescue friends. They had no idea what I was talking about, and that man-dog pair was moving quickly into the crowd. I chased them halfway to the other side of the building before I could ask the person who knew. And the answer was yes.


‘Bosun’—the ship’s officer in charge of equipment and the crew—was this sailor’s second Schipperke. The first spent nine years living on his sailboat. Wow… I asked a few questions about the dog liking it, did he have good balance, and so forth, again confirming that’s exactly why I chose this species nicknamed the Belgium Barge Dog to live with Coral’s schooner-dwelling family in my YA Seaside Sorcery.

I had never thought of the Pet Expo as a place for writing research, but I’ll use it the next time I need to select a species I’ve never met. I was lucky in my research for my first choices of dogs I didn’t really know, but it’s smarter to actually touch the dog and talk to the person who lives with it. Now I have the feel of the coat under my fingers, the sense of size, the motion of the ears and tail…the real dog to work into my writing.

And in case you think I rescue guinea pigs and have ignored them in my writing, meet Hilda, one of a pair of the first shelter pigs I adopted. She is Gran’s pet in my YA Meadow Magic.


Here’s her entrance:

Fern strode through her grandmother’s cottage, late, today of all days. “Gran?” she yelled. Late because, like usual, Mom hadn’t left when she was supposed to and now Gran—

“Wheek, wheek, wheeeeek!” came a shriek from the front room and seconds later Gran’s guinea pig barreled around the comfortable old couch, her long grey and white hair brushing the polished floor like a dust mop. She ran straight to Fern, who caught her up and hugged her.

“Hilda, at least you’re home. How have you been?” Hilda licked Fern’s cheek, her little face barely visible under a shock of white hair. “Aw, thanks. I’ve missed you, too.” Fern streamed her fingers through the chubby animal’s soft fur. “I promise, when we finish our projects there’ll be plenty of time to pet you. But right now I’ve got to find Gran.”

Hilda burbled a string of chirps, her gaze locked on Fern’s face.

Weird. The pig had that look just like when Gran talked to her. Fern sighed. May as well give it a go, though she didn’t have time to waste. “Do you have a message for me?”

Hilda threw back her head and shrilled, her pink mouth stretching to reveal four sharp incisors. When Fern set her down, the pig scurried across the room to her den basket under the kitchen counter. She rooted around and in short order returned carrying a folded piece of stationary, a bit gnawed at the edges. The note inside read:

Fern Dear,

A few issues for our inspection have arisen, so I am off to a meeting. It might run into Saturday as well. It’s time for you to take charge. I know a seventeen year old can handle the remaining projects, but to ease your burden I have arranged some help for you.

                        Love, Gran

“Leaving now—Gran!” Fern slapped her forehead. “Ohmigod, me in charge? And help? Sheesh. As if you could dig up help on this island, thank you very much.” Fern read the note again. What issues? Did this mean in spite of all their work on the Meadows, the Council still might take Gran’s land and give it to another family? With her home at risk, Gran had left Fern in charge?


“Oh.” How had she forgotten Hilda? Hilda giving her the… Fern eyed the guinea pig. No. No way.

Hilda took a few steps toward the refrigerator. “Wheek!”

Fern blinked. “Uh, sorry? You want a treat?” She dropped the note on the counter and found a carrot. Hilda took it and trotted off to her basket. Huh. Guess that was—Fern shook her head. She had work to do, whether the guinea pig could… uh, whether Gran… Hmm. “See you later, Hilda. Even with Gran gone, I’ve got to cut those trees on our list.” The List. Yeah.

Isn’t she smarter than the average pig? She’s owned by a witch. 🙂 Thanks for reading!

P.S.: I belatedly realize I should have included an excerpt of one of the dogs. *eye roll at myself* I was at Pet Expo as a guinea pig volunteer – so my head was still there. Dog excerpt coming soon!

Thanksgiving = Chessiecon

Over the weekend following Thanksgiving, the mid-Atlantic region is treated to Chessiecon, a science fiction/fantasy con presented by the Thanksgiving Science Fictions Society in Timonium, Maryland.


Sessions on many aspects of SF/F are offered across as many as 12 rooms–art, music, gaming, dance, spiritual, videos, and literature.

But best of all, one of my favorite YA authors, Tamora Pierce, was the Guest of Honor.

T Pierce at Chessiecon

Tamora has attended many of the Darkover (predecessor of Chessiecon) cons since she was Guest of Honor in 2005. The young adult author read from one of the two novels she currently has in progress. The Gift of Power goes back in time from her Wild Magic Books to trace the antics of young Arram Draper as he comes into his wizard powers, before he became known as Numair.

Tamora was asked a some great questions. A few that intrigued me:

What drives the pace of your work?

TP: Quiet. Daily readings with Bruce ( I *think* this is a crit partner). Deadlines. An exciting part of the story. Her health and emotion of the house. Currently, the kittens dropped in her airlock. It does depend on the story–a current WIP about Alana has coem easily after the idea came along.

Where do your ideas come from?

TP: I read a lot, and not just fantasy. I’m reading more science fiction these days. Thrillers, and YA when I can get my hands on it. I’m a news addict–both BBC and American. I get a lot of ideas from non-fiction reading.

You’ve had Alana for 30 years. What’s it like living with these characters?

TP: I don’t know. This is what my life is like.


I liked this last answer a lot. I  believe it’s hard for writers to think of their characters as anything but real. And speaking of ‘real people’, I  attended the Diversity in SF/F panel.

Diversity Panel

With Carl Cipra moderating, the panel of D.H. Aire, Heather Rose Jones, Timothy Liebe, and Mary Fan urged writers not to force awkward inclusion, but to think into the characters’ backgrounds to determine who they really are.

The YA Fiction panel addressed a little of the history of the YA genre and how we’ve gotten to today’s offerings.

YA Fiction Panel

With Elektra Hammond moderating, Katherine Kurtz, Tamora Pierce and Timothy Liebe reviewed their favorites:

Sara Beth Durst’s ICE


Cory Doctorow


Tom Pollock’s THE CITY’S SON


Lauren DeStefano’s WITHER


D. M. Cornish’s MONSTER BLOOD TATTOO series


The con continues Saturday (some activities until midnight!) and Sunday, Nov 29-30, 2014.

Or there is always next year:


Have a great weekend!

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