call of fire

Where to get my signed books

Posted by on Aug 29, 2017 in Blog, breath of earth, call of fire, public speaking | Comments Off on Where to get my signed books

No matter where you are in the world, you can order signed copies of Call of Fire through Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Scottsdale, Arizona. They know their stuff–they handle massive quantities of books for authors like Diana Gabaldon. Order online, by phone, or walk in. They can hook you up with my other books, too: Clockwork Dagger, Clockwork Crown, Deep Roots, and Breath of Earth.

If you live around Phoenix, you have some other options, too. Last Saturday, I drove a big loop around the metropolitan area to visit as many Barnes & Noble stores as possible that listed Call of Fire as in-stock via their website. Here’s where I signed books:

Metro Center B&N: 1 Call of Fire
Happy Valley B&N: 3 2 copies Call of Fire
Desert Ridge B&N: whole bunch of signed Dagger, Crown, Breath of Earth, and Call of Fire
Tempe B&N: 1 Call of Fire (with more copies of that and Breath of Earth on order)

There are also a few signed copies of Call of Fire at Half Price Books stores around Indianapolis. I’m not sure exactly where they dispersed after Gen Con, so maybe you can get a kind of treasure hunt out of it.

If you want to see my books in your local stores–whether in Arizona or elsewhere–order them through the store! That way, the local manager sees there is a demand, and that encourages them to order more to stock the shelves.

Libraries kind of work the same way. You can request my books be stocked there. If the novels are checked out regularly, the librarians know, too, and will buy more books by that author… and will also replace books if they get too worn.

If you have any questions about where to find my books, comment here or use my contact form, or reach out on Twitter or Facebook. I’ll be happy to help you out!


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Release Event at Desert Ridge Phoenix B&N tomorrow!

Posted by on Aug 25, 2017 in Blog, call of fire, public speaking | Comments Off on Release Event at Desert Ridge Phoenix B&N tomorrow!

At 2pm tomorrow, I’ll be at the Desert Ridge Barnes & Noble location to talk books and happily sign copies, too! Bring books or buy there; Call of Fire will be available for purchase. If you’re in the Phoenix area, please come by. I’ll have cookies…!



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Re-post: Gen Con Schedule

Posted by on Aug 16, 2017 in Blog, call of fire, public speaking | Comments Off on Re-post: Gen Con Schedule

(If you’re looking for my Bready or Not post, I shifted it to Tuesday night so I could share it on social media before my trip! You can find my Matcha Cheesecake Bars recipe here.)

As this posts, I should be on the way to Gen Con. *knock on wood*

I have events throughout the day on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. If you’re there, I hope you can take a brief break from gaming and drop into a panel or two! I will have cookies, though I don’t know how long they’ll last. If you partake in a cookie, you can also get one of my brand new ribbons to add to your badge.

The book vendor should have copies of my Clockwork Dagger duology as well as Breath of Earth and Call of Fire; follow me on Facebook and Twitter for updates on the stock on hand.

Gen Con 2017 schedule


10:00am – 11:00am: Writer’s Craft: Characters with Disabilities Westin/Caucus
Explore ways to include characters with disabilities in your stories in a respectful and realistic way. With Gail Z. Martin, Beth Cato, Mary Robinette Kowal

3:00pm – 4:00pm: Writer’s Craft: Are You Overthinking the Story? Westin/Caucus
Climb out of the rabbit hole of self-doubt and get back to writing! Learn to identify when you’re overthinking the story. Featuring Beth Cato, Kelly McCullough, Richard Lee Byers, Toiya Finley


11:00 – 12:00pm: Writer’s Craft: Creating True Leaders Westin/Chamber
Learn to craft inspirational characters that embody the traits of a great leader! Featuring Stephen P. Kelner, Jr., Beth Cato, Richard Lee Byers, Geoffrey Girard

12:00pm – 1:00pm: Writer’s Craft: Writing a First Draft Westin/Chamber
Most writers begin with a draft. Learn how to get that first draft down, what a draft looks like, and what to do with it. Features Beth Cato, Christopher Husberg, Kelly McCullough, Toiya Finley

3:00pm – 3:45pm: The Once and Future Podcast LIVE! Westin/Chamber
Join host Anton Strout with Mercedes Lackey and Beth Cato for a live recording of this weekly geeky podcast for readers and writers that focuses on all things fantasy and SF. (Note that I need to dash out a few minutes early to make sure I make my signing at 4pm.)

4:00pm – 5:00pm: Signing (Exhibit Hall)


12:00 – 1:00pm: Writing 101: Themes—What’s a Theme and Do You Need One? Westin/Chamber
Educators and experts always go on and on about the theme of a story, but what is it and should you worry about it? Featuring Beth Cato, Bradley P. Beaulieu, Howard Andrew Jones, Karen Bovenmyer

3:00pm – 4:00pm: Reading: Kelly McCullough & Beth Cato Westin/Congress I
Writer’s Symposium authors read from their latest works in an intimate small-room setting. Join us for this unique opportunity to experience the authors’ personal interpretations of their own works.

4:00pm – 5:00pm: Writer’s Craft: Alternate History Westin/Capitol I
Want to write a story where Rome never fell? Or where a time traveler saves Kennedy? Learn tips for writing awesome alternate history stories! Featuring Charlaine Harris, Eric Flint, Beth Cato



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CALL OF FIRE is out today!

Posted by on Aug 15, 2017 in Blog, call of fire | Comments Off on CALL OF FIRE is out today!


Today is the day! Call of Fire is out! This sequel to Breath of Earth takes Ingrid and company to the Pacific Northwest as she evades the Unified Pacific and tries to find out more about her profound geomantic powers. Guest starring Theodore Roosevelt as himself!

I probably don’t have to remind you that first week sales are huge to a book’s publisher, so if you haven’t preordered, please do order in the next week or two. It’s available at pretty much every online bookstore. If your brick-and-mortar B&N or indie store isn’t carrying it, you can order it there (which might inspire them to get some extras for their shelves, too).

Thank you for your support!



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5 Ways the Great British Bake Off Teaches You To Be a Better Writer

Posted by on Jul 13, 2017 in Blog, call of fire, writerly advice | Comments Off on 5 Ways the Great British Bake Off Teaches You To Be a Better Writer

I am dedicating my next book (Call of Fire, out on August 15th!) to the Great British Bake Off. Why? Because the show is my bliss. It’s a cooking reality show that thrives on niceness and support, where baking is appreciated by technical skill as well as taste. It’s a show that makes me smile. After a long day of writing and revision, it offers me an escape to the verdant, green British countryside, where I can behold amazingly “scrummy” desserts and savory dishes.

Bake Off also has a lot to teach writers about dedication, perseverance, and community. Let’s break it down with the help of some illustrative gifs.


– The Power of a Deadline
More than once, I’ve had people tell me, “I wish I had time to write. Maybe I’ll do it once my kids are in school/I change jobs/I retire.” Guess what? Life will always get in the way. Plus, writing itself can be a slog due to sheer procrastination (hello, internet), plot snarls, endless research, and so on.

Deadlines are powerful. Deadlines make you grimace, plant your hind end in a chair, and churn out the words. Deadlines make you take risks in your writing.

Bake Off operates within deadlines, too. Two hours to make an elaborate cake that you’d normally spend a day on! Four hours to make this obscure European pastry you’ve never heard of or seen before in your life! And the bakers are in. Like a writer, they may only have a vague idea of the end result, but the clock is ticking. They need to have something to present to the judges, Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood.


– Constructive Criticism
Baking Show presents the absolute ideal of constructive feedback: the negative balanced with the positive. This is something every writer needs to learn, and it is not easy. It requires tact, both in giving this feedback and responding to it in regards to your own work.

If you need a visual on how it is done, watch Paul and Mary. They might be presented with a cake that is an absolute disaster as far as presentation, but they still cut it open. They judge the texture and the taste. With a gracious smile, they say, “Yes, it looks terrible–you know that–but the taste is spot-on. You know your flavors.”

That’s the very thing writers need to hear, too. It’s how we improve–and how we learn to build on our strengths. “Yes, it’s a messy draft and there are some major info dumps, but your characters are amazing. The dialogue sparkles.”


– Innovation
Writers are often told, “Write what you know.” Cooks intrinsically do this, too; we learn family recipes, our cultural and ethnic lore through food, and the recipes of where we live. Writers and bakers also know that we can’t be confined by what we have directly known and experienced. There are infinite realities we can experience through taste and imagination.

The bakers in the tent often look to their roots for inspiration and add those flavors to the traditional British or European fare they are challenged to create. They mix, match, and defy traditional pairings, and something magical happens (whether or not that magic fully works is up to Mary and Paul). This is what writers must do, too. We twist around tropes and develop fresh stories.


– Reinforce Knowledge of the Basics
A writer doesn’t have to know how to fully diagram a sentence to be a real writer, but it is necessary to grasp the basics, the flow, that makes a story work. Writers also need to read. We need to understand what is expected in certain genres, or how to submit to markets, or query agents. There is a huge learning curve involved.

Bakers need those same skills. This is highlighted in the technical round that takes place during each Baking Show episode. The bakers are surprised by a new recipe from Mary or Paul–a recipe that has incomplete directions. “Make fondant.” “Make 1-inch diameter macarons.” “Bake”–with no temperature or time listed. The ingredients are all there, but the bakers need to understand the roles of fats and acids and rise times to make this new recipe come to a delicious result.

These basics are not static, either. There are always new skills to learn, whether you’re making a new cake recipe or a story.


– Supportive Community
Writing is hard. Editing is hard. A support network is vital. The encouragement of family and friends means a lot, but unless they are writers as well, they won’t completely get what we go through. You need other writers at your level who are willing to share updates on a new magazine, willing to critique, willing to listen on those days when the rejections flow and the words don’t.

That kind of community is what makes Great British Baking Show so extraordinary. American reality shows are petty and mean; they relish in someone’s downfall, and add sound effects for good measure. Baking Show eschews that manufactured drama. The contestants become friends. They bond as they work on stations near each other, weekend after weekend. They are competitors, yes, but they are willing to share ingredients at times, or help get a cake out of a pan. There are no sly camera angles to show sabotage–that’s not even a thought.

When a baker has a bad weekend and must leave the tent, it’s a moment of sadness. They gather for a group hug. Tears are shed. The survivors are saying farewell to a friend.

This is something writers must keep in mind, too. We each endure travails in our lives. We each want to make it as a writer. And yes, we are also vying for those few available slots in a magazine or anthology. It doesn’t need to be a cruel kind of competition, though. The publishing world is small, and we need companions for the long journey.


Originally posted at Novelocity. #SFWAPro



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Bonus Bready or Not: Dried Apple Pie Feature at Unbound Worlds

Posted by on Jun 30, 2017 in apples, Blog, Bready or Not, call of fire, pie | Comments Off on Bonus Bready or Not: Dried Apple Pie Feature at Unbound Worlds

Just in time for this week’s holidays (Independence Day! And heck, Canada Day, too!) I’m sharing a special recipe over at Unbound Worlds. I combined a bunch of 19th-century recipes to create my own recipe for Dried Apple Pie. A century ago, that was the handiest way to make apple pie all year-round no matter where you lived. This is how my character Ingrid Carmichael learned to make apple pie from her mother.

It’s actually a pretty simple recipe, too–all you have to do is re-hydrate the apples in some apple cider or juice! You’re spared the pain of peeling the apples, too. Check out the recipe and post at Unbound Worlds.

Dried Apple Pie26-cato_sm



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