Howdy! I hope this finds you well. 

I have entered The Crucible Tree, the sequel to Bane of All Things, into a new contest that my publisher, Inkshares, has just launched.

To help me win the contest, all you need to do is visit The Crucible Tree’s page and click Follow at https://www.inkshares.com/books/the-crucible-tree.

That’s it. Just follow. This contest is about community engagement, not pre-orders. 

What else can you do to help boost The Crucible Tree in the contest standings?

·      Post a Review or Recommend: I have posted sample chapters for your reading pleasure.

·      Share: Through Facebook, Twitter or by email to a friend.

If you already have followed The Crucible Tree, thank you very much. You are helping me to realize a dream I have been chasing since high school, to not just publish one novel, but to become a career author.

How does this contest work?

Inkshares will shortlist books for publication based on their level of community engagement. This is all about total number of Follows, Likes, Reviews and Shares.

Inkshares’ editorial board will then make final choices on which books to accept in the spring. (You can learn more about the contest and see the other entries here.)

So, why am I in this contest if Inkshares is already my publisher?

Bane of All Things is already pending publication next summer – it was entirely thanks to you that Inkshares agreed to publish it. (As noted in prior updates, we have the pandemic to thank for the delayed release.)

But … landing one deal for one book is no guarantee that your next book will be picked up, too. Book publishing is a business – publishers need to see a return on their investment. The great thing about Inkshares is that it doesn’t only look at dollars and cents – grass roots support is important, too.

This contest helps build buzz!!!

This contest gives me the opportunity to attract more attention to Bane of All Things ahead of its launch and earn The Crucible Tree some advance interest and attention, too. All of this will help Bane of All Things be a success when it hits store shelves and pave the way for the whole series to continue (it will be four books, BTW).

All you have to do to help make this happen is go and follow The Crucible Tree. And if you could get a couple of friends and family on board, too, that would be awesome.

Thank you again for all your patience and support. I truly hope you will find the same pleasurable escape in reading this story that I have found in writing it.




Howdy, folks. As things continue to move along with Bane of All Things (BoAT), I have something new for you – the first look at the next book in the series, The Crucible Tree (TCT).

Please check it out at https://www.inkshares.com/books/the-crucible-tree and be sure to click that FOLLOW button!

Now, this second book is in “Draft Mode.” I am not yet taking pre-orders. That will come later – like when BoAT is actually available and headed your way. And as I said in my last update, that is likely next summer as we wait for the world of book retail and promotion to return to some semblance of normal.

In the meantime, I continue to work away and keep the dream alive, eager to share more of this story. At the link above, you will find sample chapters to read. These have been carefully selected to A) avoid spoilers for Bane of All Things, and, B) avoid as much as possible dropping you into the middle of something with no clue what’s going on. 

So, please check it out, give it a comment on the REVIEWS tab, and click that FOLLOW button. The more reviews and followers TCT has, even in Draft Mode, the more attention it will draw from other users on the Inkshares platform.

Accessing your log-in

Now, it may have been many moons since you last logged into your Inkshares account, and you have to be logged in to follow or post a review. If you have any issue, it can usually be fixed with a password reset – click the FORGOT PASSWORD link.

This is obvious and easy to do on a desktop. But if you are visiting on a mobile device – tablet or smartphone – you may have log-in issues such as being told your password is wrong or your email is already in use. Even if it’s not obvious, the real issue, and the fix, is again to request a password reset.

If you still have a problem, you can contact hello@inkshares.com for support.

That’s all for now. As always, thank you again for your continued patience and support!

Stay safe and be kind.

-       Leo 

Howdy, folks. Hard to believe it’s been almost three months since my last update. This summer has vanished way too fast. I hope you are all staying safe and keeping as well as you can.

The Good NewsBane of All Things is almost ready to go to copy editing.

The Bad News: In The World that Was, this would have meant we were about seven months from a publication date – the day BoAT would be on bookstore shelves and up for purchase online. And most importantly – in your hands. But alas, we are stuck with The World That Is. Because of that, we are looking at a publication date in the summer or fall of 2021.

“Why is that, Leo?” you ask.

In short, it sucks right now to be trying to publish a first novel from a debut author with a reasonable hope of a successful launch. “Successful” being a mercenary measurement of how many books we actually sell in a particular period of time. 

I of course don’t want to just publish a book – I want to build a career as an author. And publishing a first book under circumstances where it isn’t likely to do well is a surefire way to sabotage that.

“But aren’t people stuck at home and reading more right now?” 

Yes, but the books that are doing best are generally the ones available from established authors…and anything about Trump.

Bookstores across the U.S. are still operating with skeleton crews and curbside pickup. The usual machinery of book promotion and launch is stuck in low gear and many people have been laid off (I mean across the industry, not at Inkshares – in fact, Inkshares just hired a new chief operating officer away from The Onion, but that’s another story).

These impacts of the pandemic on book retail and book promotion works against first-time authors like me most of all.

So in the interests of giving BoAT the best possible chance to do well, and me as an author to do well, the prudent course is to aim for that time frame a year or so from now, when we hopefully have a vaccine and the world is returning to some semblance of normal.

“So, what are you doing in the meantime?”

I’m glad you asked. Since we have the time to spare, we are doing some final additional tweaks to BoAT. This is all my idea. In fact, on our call last night, Inkshare’s CEO Adam Gomolin said he thought the book was in a quite strong place and we could just push it into copy editing now. But I figured we’ve got the time, so may as well use it.

In case you’re wondering, all the revision and tweaking up till now is what’s considered “developmental editing.” Copy editing is the real brass tacks nit-picky spelling and grammar stuff. BoAT is already pretty clean, so I wouldn’t expect that a lot of work of this sort remains.

But wait, there’s more!

BoAT is intended as the first of four books. I am just completing a second draft of Book 2 – The Crucible Tree. By the time BoAT does publish, the odds are good I will have already completed a first draft of Book 3 – tentatively titled Throne of Souls. Or maybe I will pick up where I left off a couple of years ago with the revamp of something entirely different – my post-apocalyptic weird western novel. We’ll see.

And on the cancer front

I continue to chug along – four months down, eight to go with my gene therapy meds. At present only mild side effects from the meds. Otherwise, doing well.

That’s all for now. As always, stay safe and be kind.





Howdy! And my sincerest best wishes for you and yours through whatever hand this mad time may have dealt you.

Just a quick update. Earlier this week, I received my third editorial letter for Bane of All Things from my awesome editor, Sarah Nivala. Sarah is quite happy with where we are with the current draft and so am I.

Through two rounds of developmental editing that enriched description, provided more context for readers to be better be able to get a handle on the complexity of this story, and to make my characters and their interactions with each other more engaging, BoAT has gotten a little thicker -- from 129,000 words as first submitted to Inkshares, to 158,000.

Formatted as a trade paperback, this equates to about 500 pages. That’s still relatively lean compared to many of the epic fantasy titles out there these days that are bending bookshelves, but Sarah has offered some great ideas on how to tighten up the story. (Hint: Chapter Four may be the new Chapter One).

Over the next month, I will be working on those revisions, and then BoAT will be handed off to Inkshares CEO Adam Gomolin for his thoughts.

At present, we still don’t have a publication date. Due to the impact of pandemic lockdown measures on bookstores and the kind of public gathering launch events that are key to a successful kick-off for a new book, Inkshares is not releasing any new titles until 2021.

As soon as I have insight on when BoAT may finally be in your hands, you will, too.

On the cancer front, I have continued to be in good health since my last update. Today marks five weeks into my one year of gene therapy medication that promises to beat this thing forever. I am glad to say that the side effects of the meds have so far been less severe than I had feared they might be.

Stay tuned, stay safe, and thank you again for your continued faith and patience.



Howdy, folks.

It’s hard to believe it’s been only three months since my last update. Feels like a year. I hope everyone is keeping safe and sane as best they can as we weather this viral storm.

Today, I returned the revised manuscript for BoAT to my editor at Inkshares. I do hope that with two rounds of developmental edits now complete, the end is in sight, but we will see.

Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary, if you can believe it, since I got the word that Inkshares would publish this tome. Whether you work with a publisher large or small, it can routinely take 18-24 months to get a book out the door.

With Inkshares, I had hoped to shorten that cycle to 12-18 months. But thanks to social-distancing measures, it’s hard to say when we might have a launch date for BoAT. Bricks-and-mortar bookstores, in addition to online sales, are an important part of Inkshares’ marketing strategy. The team doesn’t want to launch any title at a disadvantage. Neither do I.

So, stay tuned.

As some of you know, since my last update, I have had a cancer diagnosis – metastatic melanoma.

I have had two surgeries to remove all the lymph nodes under my left arm. In mid-May, I will begin targeted gene therapy – a year of fiendishly expensive meds that have a good chance of completely and permanently eradicating the cancer. 

By some morbid twist of fate, a half dozen friends, neighbours, and former colleagues have also had cancer diagnoses in recent months.

This of course puts a whole different flavor on living in the time of a pandemic. It emphasizes how much the small victories matter. How much a positive attitude matters. And how important it is to occupy yourself in productive ways.

Thank you all again for your patience and support. Stay safe and keep reading!



Good day and Happy New Year! (Is it already too late in the month to still say that?)

Just a quick update on the latest. As previously reported, I sent back to my editor, Sarah Nivala, the revised manuscript for Bane of All Things on Dec. 13. This, if you recall, was the revision based on my first Editorial Letter that I received from Sarah back in September.

Earlier this week, Sarah sent back Editorial Letter #2 with their assessment of where the manuscript now stands. In short, the end is in sight. But as Sarah notes in the Letter:

 “A question we ask ourselves quite frequently at Inkshares when addressing the quality and marketability of a novel is this: ‘What is it about this novel that necessitates its publication?’ What this really means is that we need to see what it is about a novel that makes it utterly unique. We don’t want to publish works that will fade among the crowd of their genre; we develop stories that offer readers a singular experience … what it is that will make critics and readers alike ravenously devour it?”

For a book, a movie or a TV show, it can be hard to predict or engineer success. All we can do is put out the strongest product we can. What does this mean in BoAT’s case? At this point, it’s about doing further work on the characters to make them more well-rounded and engaging for the reader, raise the stakes by digging deeper into the true nature and motivations of the Big Bad Guy, and offering more sweeping spectacle in terms of the sharing more backstory of this world.

If this sounds like I literally need to sit down for a fresh interview with each of my characters, as if I were producing an episode on each of them for the Biography Channel, you’re right. It is a good time of year, after all, to sit back for some relaxed and honest conversation. 

My intent is to turn this around by end of March.

Thank you again for your faith and support. It typically takes 18-24 months for a book to be released from the day a publisher first agrees to take it on. I am doing my level best to shorten that cycle considerably with BoAT. (FYI, the one-year anniversary of when Inkshares said yes is April 29).




Back in September, I delivered my last update on the production status of that epic fantasy novel, Bane of All Things (BoAT), which you helped me to crowdfund with Inkshares.

With that last update, I had just received my Editorial Letter – a comprehensive assessment of BoAT’s strengths and weaknesses to give me a handle on what edits and revisions I must make to ensure this story is the best version of itself that it can be prior to publication.

I had a three-month window in which to complete said revisions and return the manuscript to my Inkshares editor.

I am glad to say that the work has been completed ahead of schedule and I sent the revised manuscript back yesterday – on Friday the 13th, because, why not?

It’s become a meatier novel than I had originally planned, having grown from 129,000 to 150,000 words in total with this revision. That puts it in the 500-page ballpark. Pretty hefty, when compared to the average novel lengths for genres like romance, or suspense thriller or science fiction, but still modest in size when compared to the weighty works of Tier 1 fantasy authors like Brandon Sanderson, George R.R. Martin or Patrick Rothfuss.

So, what’s next?

I wait (for perhaps a couple of months – they are busy folks over there and it is the holidays) for the revised manuscript to be reviewed and assessed. This will likely yield a second Editorial Letter for additional fine tuning.

Like I said before, getting a quality product out into the world is a slow process.

What I do hope will come within the next couple of months, based on the assessment of this latest version of BoAT, is clarity around an actual publication date – hopefully for the fall. Rest assured, as soon as I know, you will know.

In the meantime, thank you again for agreeing to support me on this journey. I wouldn’t be here without you. 

All the best to you and your family for the holiday season.






Howdy, folks. Just a quick note to confirm that the Editorial Letter is in my hand and first round revisions have begun in earnest. My intention is to turn around the new draft of BoAT by Christmas. Only then, when Inkshares can assess how well I have executed on said revisions, will it be time for a serious conversation about a release date.

But a wordsmith can dream, can’t he? My hope would be a release for the fall of 2020, but we will see. I REPEAT – that is my hope, not a given. It may even be wildly unrealistic, but we will see where we stand in the new year.

What is the significance of next fall? Each October, Ottawa plays host to CAN•CON – the Conference on Canadian Content in Speculative Arts and Literature. This is the place to cross paths with authors, gamers, poets and illustrators of fantasy, science fiction and horror. The creative community of the National Capital Region turns out in force, joined by colleagues and special guests from across Canada and the U.S. I support CAN•CON on the media relations side as a volunteer and am also a recurring panelist.

It would be fantastic to have a launch event for BoAT at CAN•CON 2020!

But before we get there, there is lots of work to do. For Inkshares, it’s not just about how quickly we can arrive at a strong and polished product, but when it makes the best business sense to launch it into the market.

For now, my focus must be on taking to heart the awesome insight that my editor, Sarah, has provided on the manuscript and forging ahead with those revisions. She has made great observations about some things I need to work on with character and pacing and effectively getting the reader oriented and grounded in this world that I have created.

But while there is still much work to do, Sarah’s overall assessment of the manuscript was as follows:

“Bane of All Things is an exciting, rich novel that creates a truly vivid and complex world that is original and interesting. Obviously, comparisons will be drawn between your novel and A Song of Ice and Fire and perhaps An Ember in the Ashes, but it is a unique entity. Your novel is engaging because the fantasy realm that it draws us into is intricate and compelling and the themes of loyalty, faith, and loss help you to tell human stories in a fantasy setting. You’ve created a fascinating cast of characters and creatures.”

That works for me.

Howdy, one and all. Four months have already passed since the Inkshares crowdfund campaign for Bane of All Things ended in success so it’s time for an update.

Things move slowly in the publishing business and that’s just par for the course. As much as I can’t wait to have the finished product in my hands (and in yours), it takes time and plenty of sober second thought to polish a novel from a debut author, and develop its marketing plan, to ensure it has the best chance of standing out from the crowd and doing well.

My editor at Inkshares continues to work on my Editorial Letter. This comprehensive assessment of BoAT’s strengths and weaknesses will give me a handle on what edits and revisions I must make to ensure this story is the best version of itself that it can be. The plan a couple of months ago called for me to have my Letter by now, but it’s taking a little longer than first expected.

In the meantime, Inkshares has already set up my Properties page. Properties is the side of the Inkshares platform reserved for talent agents, other publishers and movie and TV producers. This is where they come to scout out interesting books they may want to licence in some way, or even opt for the Hollywood treatment. So who knows what could happen there!

Also, I vowed as part of the crowdfunding campaign that I would donate one dollar from each copy pre-ordered to non-profit Autism Ontario on behalf of my autistic son and nephews. That donation has been made, rounded up to a nice even $500.

Thanks again to each and every one of you for making all this possible. Stay tuned for further updates as the production process for BoAT moves ahead!





Valiquette 10 22 18 028 copy Leo Valiquette · Author · added over 1 year ago
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