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FAITHFUL by Michelle Hauck Release Day

The next volume in the Birth of Saints series is available now!


Following Grudging–and with a mix of Terry Goodkind and Bernard Cornwall–religion, witchcraft, and chivalry war in Faithful, the exciting next chapter in Michelle Hauck’s Birth of Saints series!

A world of Fear and death…and those trying to save it.

Colina Hermosa has burned to the ground. The Northern invaders continue their assault on the ciudades-estados. Terror has taken hold, and those that should be allies betray each other in hopes of their own survival. As the realities of this devastating and unprovoked war settles in, what can they do to fight back?

On a mission of hope, an unlikely group sets out to find a teacher for Claire, and a new weapon to use against the Northerners and their swelling army.

What they find instead is an old woman.

But she’s not a random crone—she’s Claire’s grandmother. She’s also a Woman of the Song, and her music is both strong and horrible. And while Claire has already seen the power of her own Song, she is scared of her inability to control it, having seen how her magic has brought evil to the world, killing without reason or remorse. To preserve a life of honor and light, Ramiro and Claire will need to convince the old woman to teach them a way so that the power of the Song can be used for good. Otherwise, they’ll just be destroyers themselves, no better than the Northerners and their false god, Dal. With the annihilation their enemy has planned, though, they may not have a choice.

A tale of fear and tragedy, hope and redemption, Faithful is the harrowing second entry in the Birth of Saints trilogy.

Faithful– November 15, 2016

Harper Voyager

Find It: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | HarperCollins | Goodreads


Also enter to win a signed paperback of Grudging, the first book in the series: 

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A world of chivalry and witchcraft…and the invaders who would destroy everything.

The North has invaded, bringing a cruel religion and no mercy. The ciudades-estados who have stood in their way have been razed to nothing, and now the horde is before the gates of Colina Hermosa…demanding blood.

On a mission of desperation, a small group escapes the besieged city in search of the one thing that might stem the tide of Northerners: the witches of the southern swamps.

The Women of the Song.

But when tragedy strikes their negotiations, all that is left is a single untried knight and a witch who has never given voice to her power. And time is running out.

A lyrical tale of honor and magic, Grudging is the opening salvo in the Book of Saints trilogy.


November 17, 2015

Harper Voyager

Find it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Goodreads


Michelle Hauck lives in the bustling metropolis of northern Indiana with her hubby and two kids in college. Besides working with special needs children by day, she writes all sorts of fantasy, giving her imagination free range. A book worm, she passes up the darker vices in favor of chocolate and looks for any excuse to reward herself. Bio finished? Time for a sweet snack.
She is a co-host of the yearly contests Query Kombat, Nightmare on Query Street, and Sun versus Snow.
Her Birth of Saints trilogy, starting with Grudging and Faithful (November 15, 2016), is available from Harper Voyager. Another epic fantasy, Kindar’s Cure, is published by Divertir Publishing. She’s repped by Marisa Corvisiero of Corvisiero Literary.


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A Words Look: “Trouble” by TV On The Radio

This song.

It is a beautiful song that crept into my psyche the first time I heard it in 2014. When one listens to the song—like most great songs—it can mean many things to many people. Anyone on that mental razors edge can relate to the feeling the song radiates. For whatever reason, for whatever situation, for whatever guilt that brings pressure bearing down on you in life, this song resonates.

It brings me back to my days in late teens/early twenties when I’d lost the ballast in my ship. The moorings snapped and I was floating through life without much direction or focus. The were many devils who had my number.

The song is a reminder, as the lyrics go to strap your helmet on and get ready to survive whatever wave is on a beeline toward you. Also, it reminds us that everything will be okay if we convince ourselves of the possibility and believe in it.

Really, everything will be okay.


Oh, here comes trouble
Put your helmet on, we’ll be heading for a fall
Yeah, the whole thing’s gonna blow
And the devil’s got my number
It’s long overdue, he’ll come looking soon
Yeah, the whole thing’s gonna blow

Oh, here comes trouble
These people talk too much, need to shut ’em up
Yeah, I’d rather be alone
Can you, can you feel that rumble?
All this borrowed time, it’s been running out
It’s the ending of the show
But I know now, yeah, yeah, I know now, yeah

Everything’s gonna be okay
Oh, I keep telling myself, “Don’t worry, be happy”
Oh, you keep telling yourself, “Everything’s gonna be okay”
Oh, I keep telling myself, “Don’t worry, be happy”
Oh, you keep telling yourself, “Everything’s gonna be okay”

Oh, I’ve changed my number
Wore disguises and went undercover just to
Just to hide away from you
Oh, my ghost came a-calling
Making noises ’bout a promise I had broken
Oh, I’m gonna be lonely soon

Oh, here comes trouble
Put your helmet on, we’ll be heading for a fall
Yeah, the whole thing’s gonna blow
And the devil’s got my number
It’s long overdue, he’ll come looking soon
Yeah, the whole thing’s gonna blow

Everything’s gonna be okay
Oh, I keep telling myself, “Don’t worry, be happy”
Oh, you keep telling yourself, “Everything’s gonna be okay”
Oh, I keep telling myself, “Don’t worry, be happy”
Oh, you keep telling yourself, “Everything’s gonna be okay”

Everything’s gonna be okay


2015 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 310 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


Mr. Colby Sharp asks, “Are you ready for #Nerdlution15?

My immediate answer is, “YES!”


I am ready to bring it on again this year. A couple resolutions for me to work at with the Nerdy Book Club community. The NBC is an awesome group of people from all walks of life dedicated to books, literacy, and promoting just how important literature is to making us healthy, happy, Homo sapiens. Check out their blog at to find out more about the group (and read a couple guest posts by your truly). I highly suggest subscribing to the daily email update. Everyday brings something golden on the Nerdy Book Club blog.

Last year, I participated in #Nerdlution and in the #Nerdlution Round 2 . During these 100 days, I actually finished a first draft of a middle grade manuscript about a secret band of squirrels dedicated to keeping the Hundred Acre Wood safe and secure, as well as developing some strength & flexibility. It felt awesome to accomplish these resolutions and it helped to the Nth power to know there were other Nerdy Book Club members out in cyberspace also working hard and providing inspiration.

For #Nerdlution15, here is my plan:

1. Write 500 words on WIP, blog posts, writer-ly blog posts, and compile a book of essays on my #Coachisms101 tweets.

2. The Four Horsemen Workout. Start Day 1 through Day 10 with 10 reps each of bodyweight squats, push-ups, crunches, and jumping jacks. From Day 10 to Day 50 add one repetition per day, i.e. Day 40 should have 40 squats + 40 push-ups + 40 crunches + 40 jumping jacks.

Good luck to everyone in 2015! Have a safe, healthy, and productive year.

Make it happen.

Hard work is the magic.

A Words Look: “What Sarah Said”

On November 13th each year, DJ John Richards from KEXP radio in Seattle (www.kexp,org) does a tribute show to celebrate his mother’s life on the anniversary of the day she died. The 2014 show was the 10-year anniversary of her passing. It is an emotional four hour show celebrating, love, death, family, and, most importantly, life, as only the combination of words and music can accomplish. It is a beautiful radio show.

This “A Words Look” post will be dedicated to John Richards and KEXP radio for producing such an amazing piece of work to honor those we loved who are no longer with us.

“What Sarah Said”
From Death Cab for Cutie off the Plans album.

And it came to me then that every plan is a tiny prayer to father time
As I stared at my shoes in the ICU that reeked of piss and 409
And I rationed my breaths as I said to myself that I’d already taken too much today
As each descending peak on the LCD took you a little farther away from me
Away from me

Amongst the vending machines and year-old magazines in a place where we only say goodbye
It stung like a violent wind that our memories depend on a faulty camera in our minds
But I knew that you were a truth I would rather lose than to have never lain beside at all
And I looked around at all the eyes on the ground as the TV entertained itself

‘Cause there’s no comfort in the waiting room
Just nervous pacers bracing for bad news
And then the nurse comes round and everyone will lift their heads
But I’m thinking of what Sarah said that “Love is watching someone die”

So who’s going to watch you die?..

  • From
    Sarah is an acquaintance of lead singer Ben Gibbard. The narrator is the one that is dying. His wife is standing with him waiting for his inevitable death and he is saying that he knew death would come for one of them at some point. She shows her love by standing with him, and he asks her, “who’s gonna watch you die?” because he will already be gone.
  • Gibbard (from his record label’s website): “The song was inspired by a friend. She was walking with her husband one day and just burst into hysterical tears because she realized that one day one of the two of them would have to watch the other die.”

A Words Look: Skinning Cats?

“There’s more than one way to skin a cat.”

L0003577 Engraving of G. Katterfelto with a black cat.

Image from WikiCommons: Engraving of G. Katterfelto with a black cat.

There are many odd phrases we use in common, everyday English, but “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.” may be one of the most morbid, oddest of these in existence.

Seriously, cat skinning?

Where is heaven’s name did this phrase ever come from?

Admittedly, I’m not the president of the International Cat Fan Club, but I can’t imagine the literal meaning of this proverb ever being held as common practice.

Was there once a lucrative market in cat furs or something?

Why did this mostly off-the-wall phrase ever come to be?

Did modern man, at some point in his history, feel the need to define the importance, and therefore the associated methodologies, of possessing multiple ways to remove a feline’s carcass from its skin?

Here is a link to a good post which discusses the phrase and its history from Michael Quinion’s World Wide Words blog.

Of course, we rarely use the phrase nowadays with any hint of its literal interpretation. We use it as an accepted phrase to colorfully suggest there is more than one approach to solving a problem. To put the literal interpretation of the phrase into action, in fact, may get one arrested, ostracized to a lonely life in a trailer down by the river, or tar and feathered by a gang of cat-fancier vigilantes.

It was a common phrase I used when coaching, especially when talking about football blocking schemes. We wanted to provide the offensive lineman with a set of tools and give them the freedom to use these multiple tools during a game. We gave them the “more than one way to skin a cat” options so they could make problem-solving decisions on the fly and get the job done the best way they could see fit.

Have any of you used this proverb in your own personal language toolbox?

Have you ever wondered how some of these old sayings came to be?

Can you think of similar phrases that are in our common lexicon?

Interesting words.

A Words Look: “40” by U2

Early in their career, I was rather lukewarm on U2. Lukewarm, that is, until the Live album, Under a Blood Red Sky, came out. It was a recording from the 1983 War concert tour, mainly from a show at the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado. From then on, I was hooked on U2 and Under a Blood Red Sky remains a Top 10 record in my book.

The energy. Oh my Lord, the energy in that live album is out of this world.   Meant to be played loud…real loud.

Most of their early hits are exceptionally performed on the live album. But the gem of this record, the track which grabs you and refuses to let go, is the song “40”.

I love Psalm 40. I love the hope. I love the promise the Lord will always be there no matter how dark the day.

I really like this song. I appreciate the story behind it as told by the quote from The Edge:

“So then we had this slightly unusual piece of music and we said, ‘OK, what are we going to do with it?’ Bono said, ‘Let’s do a psalm.’ Opened up the bible and found Psalm 40. ‘This is it. Let’s do it.’ And within forty minutes we had worked out the last few elements for the tune, Bono had sung it, and we mixed it. And literally, after finishing the mix, we walked out through the door and the next band walked in.”

– The Edge, U2 By U2 2006

Here are the wonderful lyrics, the actual Psalm 40, and a link to the concert video from 1983. Enjoy.


I waited patiently for the Lord

He inclined and heard my cry
He brought me up out of the pit
Out of the miry clay

I will sing, sing a new song
I will sing, sing a new song

How long to sing this song
How long to sing this song
How long, how long, how long
How long to sing this song

He set my feet upon a rock
And made my footsteps firm
Many will see
Many will see and hear

I will sing, sing a new song
I will sing, sing a new song
I will sing, sing a new song
I will sing, sing a new song

How long to sing this song
How long to sing this song
How long, how long, how long
How long to sing this song

The portion of Psalm 40 that inspired Bono’s lyrics:

I waited patiently for the Lord
And He inclined to me and heard my cry
He brought me up out of the pit of destruction
Out of the miry clay
And He set my feet upon a rock, making my footsteps firm
He put a new song in my mouth
A song of praise to our God
Many will see and fear and will trust in the Lord

Here’s a video link to “40” from 1983 concert at Red Rocks: