About the Books

Writing Round-Up

Tomorrow marks the first day of the publicity kick off for Echoes of War. While this is super exciting, that pony isn’t quite ready to blast out of the gates yet toward the September finish line. I hit an editing snag, so that pony is coming out at a mozy…or possibly she is just looking at the open gates and waiting a bit.

The publicist and I were hoping to have the ARCs (advance reader copies) in March in time for things to rock and roll in April. Except I have zero ARCs. The editing took a bit longer than I wanted because I kept finding typos. Word was doing fun things with the manuscript, changing fonts for me at seemingly random times until I found the pattern. OCD me went back to my older files to compare, and Word was definitely jacking up my manuscript as it was sent back and forth through email or opened in different versions of Word or the program just being possessed in general. I don’t know. It doesn’t matter the cause, but I was glad I figured out what was going on. So the file ended up with some extra transmissions back and forth that wouldn’t have normally happened.

That was done, then the proof read started by SparkPress’s proofer. The file came back to me, complete with gorgeous formatting for a final review…and I found a few more typos. These weren’t Word doing wonky stuff. These were just ones that were missed by tired human eyes. I finished the review and sent the file back last night. I’m not sure if it comes back to me again after the corrections are made or not. I’m guessing it does. All I can say is I’m going a bit blind with all the re-reads and picking apart each line for typos. But that process has to be complete before the final page count can be done which impacts the size of the cover art file. THEN things might be able to go to print for ARCs. Ah, the waiting game.

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You know those times when you randomly cross paths with someone and form an instant kinship? I’m always amazed by those events. I don’t know why I continue to be amazed by them because they happen so often, especially when I’m watching and waiting for them. But when they happen, I think it’s still the coolest thing on the planet. Coincidence? The Universe doing it’s thing? Karma? I don’t know what it is, what to call it, how it happens, or why it happens–I just know it’s really freakin’ cool!

Things with SparkPress continue to progress toward the September pub date for Echoes of War. Right now the manuscript is being proofed. The person doing the proofing emailed me early in the week with a question for me on a proposed edit she wanted to make. The proposed edit made perfect sense, so I told her to go ahead with it. That was the start of an email chain we’ve now had going back and forth about a myriad of topics.

Like me, she is a bibliophile and traveler with a tendency to land in Europe, so we’ve have plenty to chat about. She also had a history of working in IT and now enjoys her retirement getting paid to read books and integrating in some travel time. Here’s the best part: she’s a Mainer (pronounced Main-ah). Not a transplant like me, but a legit Mainer. Born there, grew up there, moved away, came back, and stayed.

At times I get mired in the tedium of writing novels. Editing makes me sometimes feel like my eyes are bleeding while my brain slides out one or both of my ears. While bleeding-eyeball deep in editing the last few weeks on another project, this week’s email exchanges have uplifted me in a way that had me charging full speed last night with editing only to get up early before the bill-paying job started to edit some more. I can’t say I would’ve been able to do that without the unexpected boost from crossing paths with a kindred spirit.

Look for those opportunities to connect with others. They’re just waiting for you to scoop them up!

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For Fun

Book Addiction

I do believe I have developed a legitimate book addiction. I have always been able to walk into a Target, poke around looking at stuff, and walk out without purchasing a thing; however, lately I cannot walk past a bookstore without going in. Nor can I resist buying a book before leaving that bookstore.

Today I wandered around a few small towns in Mass. I’m a nomad and live wherever; wandering is my thing.

I have some bookstores in Boston on my list to check out, but that will happen another day. Today I was scoping out bookstores in Acton, Sudbury, and Concord. I will do book signing events in this area in the Fall with the release of Echoes of War, so I was poking around the bookstores to scope out prospects.

I went into three different stores and returned to my friends’ house with four books. That is on top of the four other print books I already have in my “To Be Read” queue. We won’t even talk about the number of books on my eReader in the electronic “To Be Read” queue. It’s a little embarrassing at this point–and I probably shouldn’t mention the eBook I just added to my Kindle wish list. Oh well.

Two of the stores I went to today carried current books, the third was an antiquarian shop that I still visited because, well, it is still a bookstore and my wee addiction brought me there.

When I was roaming Portland, Maine a few weeks back I went into a bookstore there called PRINT: A Bookstore. I absolutely adored this shop, and the people there were very friendly. I happened to be staying at a great little AirBNB just up the street from it, so I stopped in there a few times and only managed to buy two books–just two!

The image above is of one of the books I grabbed when in Portland that is a collection of SciFi and Fantasy short stories. I tend to avoid short stories because I always feel like I get sucked in, the story ends too quickly, and I end up feeling ripped off and annoyed. None of the stories in this collection have done that to me. I’m a bit over halfway through the book, and each story thus far has been extremely well written and ends with a resolution that leaves me satisfied, not irritated. One story had me laughing out loud in public earlier this week when I was reading while loitering in a lobby. This collection gets more bonus points just by having N. K. Jemisin’s name on it. Icing on the cake! After devouring her Broken Earth Trilogy, I’m inclined to buy anything with her name on it.


Here’s my confession: I’ve always been a bit intimidated to try to write a short story. My early attempts at it many years ago resulted in stories that absolutely suuuuuuuuucked. They ended up in the trash too.

My shortest novel thus far is 90K words. I’m a bit long-winded. Could I really compress what I have to say into something closer to 10K or even 20K words? I have had my doubts for years now. After reading the ones in this collection, I have the proof that not only can short stories be fun and fulfilling reads, but maybe I could pull it off. I have a SciFi trilogy to finish first, but I have tucked this little nugget into the back of my mind for now. Who knows what could happen next? It’s those little nuggets that turn into a five-book fantasy series or a SciFi trilogy!



Image from Amazon

About the Books

Cover Art Reveal

Site Updates and Cover Art

If you have spent any time poking around on the website, you’ll have noticed some changes happening. Tabs have had some content updated such as the new cover art for the Burnt Mountain series. Only one more of those left to do, and that is currently in progress. Other cool photos from Adobe have been added, and the coolest of all, not from Adobe, is shown above.

This is the cover art for the Sept 10 release, Echoes of War, book one in the Echoes trilogy. I’m super excited by the cover art and can’t wait to hold this book in my hands once I start getting ARCs (Advance Reader Copies) printed sometime in the spring.

With the new year starting next week (and me trying not to crap myself over how quickly 2018 flew by) and thus the start of the 2019 rodeo that begins as well, I’m doing my best to remain calm (hint: at times I’m quite successful, other times I can be found in the fetal position).

Next up for Echoes

Editing the full manuscript with the SparkPress editor, manuscript approval, full book cover art approval, print proof approval, ARC prints, and lots of publicity work mixed in and probably stuff I’m missing. If I can get the ARCs in time, I’ll start doing promotional events. One event on the list for April, pending ARCs, is the Bangor Comic and Toy Con – going as a vendor, not a spectator!

This is all to be done while wrapping up my final six months of working in Baltimore before I leave the country for my sabbatical in July. The next several months will be an absolute blur. Heck, the last several months have been a blur. Or perhaps I just need to have my eyes checked–lots of things blurring lately.

I hope everyone survived the holidays with only minor injuries and/or ailments. The same wish holds true for making it past New Year’s Day (unless you celebrate the Chinese New Year then you’ll have to wait a bit longer). I have spent this week in Maine and will spend next week in Mass. The nomadic life adventure continues, and it’s a hoot!

For Fun

Domain Name


As promised, a little background on the new domain name. Firstly, kudos to my friend Jen that helped me pull together some domain names which ultimately turned into the new site. I did not give her an easy task.

The Burnt Mountain site was great for the time that I needed it, but honestly, it was a short-sighted creation. The only reason it ended up being called Burnt Mountain Books was because I was well into the second book by the time I started goofing around with a website, hence the plural. Had no idea at the time it would turn into a five-book series. I also didn’t know where things would go from there. The Monster Within released in 2013. It’s now 2018. Five fantasy books later and the first sci fi book will release in 2019, I think we can agree that it’s been a busy run!

What’s in a domain name?

I am more than a writer. I have a lot of creative outlets. Some of those outlets, I do well (painting with acrylics), some of them I utterly suck (wood working) but I still enjoy doing them. This is the real reason for the new website being something other than Cheryl Campbell Writer or Author or whatever. I wanted it to go broader than only my writing. I don’t have a link on the site up yet for the other creative stuff I do, but that will come in time. I’m still living on the road, so I don’t have access to the photos of various paintings and other projects I’ve done over the years.

So that was Jen’s task. I have lots of stuff I do and other things coming, so what the heck do I call the new website that I know I need but no clue what to name it. Jen and I were having dinner chatting this over. She threw things out to me, and I looked up the names to see if they were available. By the time we were done, I had four domain names written on a recycled napkin (recycled in that it was from recycled material, not fished out of the rubbish bin and used as a note pad).

I sat on that list for a bit to “feel” my way around them and see which one resonated the best. You already know the one I picked. The soup part is a double meaning. With the mix of creative outlets, sounds like a soup to me. Plus, as a Campbell, I have carried the nickname of Soup around for a while.

Jen’s reward for helping me pick the names was a huge thank you, and I did give her the pen back that I borrowed to take notes on the napkin. She’s been one of my early readers turned test reader from the beginning, so I’d already named a character after her in the first sci fi book. Bonus points, that character survives book one. Extra bonus points, that character reappears in the second sci fi book. Extra extra bonus points, that character survives the second book too!!!  Read my work and you’ll understand why this is a major accomplishment for one of my characters. 😉

Quickie Publishing Update

The name of the sci fi book has changed per recommendation of the publisher. Forgotten Echoes is now Echoes of War. Me likey! 🙂 So you’ll see that name referenced now on the website. I finished the first draft of the second Echoes book last week. That one is sitting off to the side, unnamed, for a while to mellow while I play with some other things I’m doing as part of that creative soup.


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