I’ve decided that I’m going to start reviewing urban fantasy/paranormal novels. It will help alleviate my constant need to purchase books. I will review trad, indie, and self-published works. Fair warning I won’t lie, so you might not like my review. If you’re curious about my process see here. I prefer electronic books (so I can read in bed and not wake up with a black nose from ink). If you’re interested in having me review your work please fill out the form below. All reviews will be published on this blog, Amazon, and Goodreads. If you would like to me post elsewhere please let me know when I email you.

Thank you,

V. L. Cooke


Golden Opportunity is Live!

Yes, I know I said it would take a week for the paperback to be available online. Obviously, Amazon wanted me to be a liar. Today Golden Opportunity is available in paperback and for Kindle. I hope you love it as much as I do. Feel free to comment and let me know what you think. Yes, even the negative comments help me improve.

V. L. Cooke

Pitch Wars: The Finale.

Hello Everyone,

I know this is going to come as a huge surprise to you all, but I didn’t get into #PitchWars. You can commence self-flagellation now (I’m kidding). I knew after the first weekend passed I wasn’t getting in. Not a single request came my way after submitting to six mentors (yes, I donated).

Do I regret it? Not at all. I met some amazing people and may find a critique partner eventually. Networking is always a good thing.

Did I think I actually stood a chance of getting a mentor with a fat, mouthy, 44 year-old heroine? Nope, but it didn’t hurt to have others take a look at my query and first chapter. In fact, it was painless.

Does it mean your writing sucks? Probably. I will definitely be taking a hard look at my manuscript and considering my options. I will self-publish after I take the time to evaluate it and polish yet again.

Will you do it next year? Meh, I’m kind of on the fence about that right now. On the one hand, if I have a book that I think is begging for an agent I will consider it. On the other hand, I don’t know if my style of writing is going to “speak” to anyone. Let’s be brutally honest, that’s what it’s all about. If your writing, story, and even your brand don’t speak to an agent then you’re going nowhere fast the same can be said of mentors.

Are you sure? No, but I don’t have to be sure about anything…ever. What I do know is that I loved the experience and don’t regret it in the least. It was disheartening to not get a single request for more, but I can handle that.

V. L. Cooke

P. S. I hedged my bets beforehand and bought a professional cover for Golden Opportunity (told you I’m a realist). I will be doing a cover reveal within the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned.


Pitch Wars: Some thoughts.

Pitch Wars: Some thoughts.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I planned to self-publish. In fact, I probably will self-publish, but that’s another story. This story is about an event called Pitch Wars. I highly recommend this event, not for the chance to pitch agents or get much needed mentoring (although that’s awesome), but for the chance to meet some new people via Twitter, the blog hop, and more.

My sister convinced me to enter a completed manuscript, because at the worst it would only delay my self-publication, and the potential rewards were worth it. A 2 month mentoring with a published author and the chance to pitch to agents is a big deal, especially if you’ve ever sent a cold query to an agent before and been ignored. Did I think I stood a chance? I felt my manuscript may be a little too quirky for some, and since there were very few Urban Fantasy mentors in the Adult classification my chances were slim to none (okay 4% when I did the math, but you get my point).

Like many people, on the final day I sat glued to tweet deck watching the various hashtags. Why? I found some amazing people in their community and I loved every second of it. I’ve never been a great twitterer (tweeter, twatter, twitterphile, WTF?) but I was having fun. These people are smart, funny, generous, and truly amazing. I am not saying this about just the mentors, but the potential mentees as well. This went on until about 72 hours after the deadline closed. Then something strange happened, and this is what I want to address in this post.

It started off slowly, a twitter post about checking their inbox looking for a request for more from a potential mentor (realize that the results aren’t announced until August 25). There were a few cute gifs. Then day three and four happened, people started asking if they should cry about not receiving requests, or if all of the mentors had made their requests, it was a little annoying, but not bad. The #PWTeaser thread was hilarious, a lot of mentors made comments about what they loved and what they didn’t. Even my sister started watching it to see if there was anything that could potentially be my manuscript, but since my potential mentors have been very quiet there was no love for us. Did I give up? No. What was there to give up on? For me, there was nothing to lose. If they make a request that would be awesome (they haven’t as of today). If they don’t, then I know I need to do some work. Either way it’s a win/win situation for me. So why are all these whiners announcing to the world in 144 characters or less about how sad they are? It makes me want to grab them by the shoulders and shake some sense into them.


Yes, you haven’t received a request, boo fricking hoo. Pull up your big boy/big girl pants and get the fuck over it. It’s been less than 5 days. There are around 135 potential mentors in MG/YA/NA/Adult categories combined and there were 1977 entries. That’s a metric ass load of reading and they can each only choose one mentee. Give them a flipping chance! These people have families, jobs, and other responsibilities! Everything they do is voluntary, they receive nothing from doing this. You are not the center of their particular reality, neither is your book. Take a Xanax, drink some alcohol, take a bubble bath, and do what we’ve all told others to do a million times. MOVE ON TO YOUR NEXT WIP AND FORGET ABOUT THIS ONE! At least for a while. You won’t end up with an ulcer from the stress and you might find the whole process is a lot more fun than you think. This is an amazing opportunity to meet new people and network, use it! The odds are against you being selected, so connect with the other non-lucky entrants like me. You could make a new friend, get a critique partner, or more.

V. L. Cooke

UPDATE AUGUST 13: WTF Potential mentees?! I freely admit I have no life and have enjoyed watching the various #PitchWars threads. Now, people who have not received requests are blaming it on a feminine conspiracy in the literary world and calling out mentors for being anti-male? Paranoid much? Maybe your book just needs too much work right now. Take this as a learning experience and get better. /FacePalm. You’re making all writers look bad when you put this type of behavior out in the public for everyone to see.

Busy Month

Busy Month

BlackbirdHello Everyone,

Well, we are about at the end of another Camp NaNoWriMo, I’ve made the hat trick of three NaNos three wins. This month’s word count goal was 75,000 words of book 2 in my series. The working title is Golden Seas but that is going to change thanks to my sister who thinks it’s too similar to golden shower (eww gross!). I completed book 2, plotted books 3, 4, and 5, started plotting two series set in the same world, and revised book 1. All of that made a total of slightly over 250,000 words this month.

I approved the cover for Golden Opportunity yesterday, it is perfect! Marushka at Deranged Doctor Design did an amazing job on the cover and I can’t wait to share it. I may delay the release of Golden Opportunity temporarily while I focus on the story, I want that book to be perfect so that anyone who reads it will fall in love with my girl the way I have.

I set out to write a book with a female main character who is flawed, both physically and emotionally. I wanted a character that women could relate to, one who represents a subset of the population that is often overlooked in the media. Those women who are in their forties, who are single by choice or divorced, who have no children, and who have physical flaws. They may carry extra weight, they may be a little emotionally immature, they may have spent years with a man who didn’t appreciate them and threw them out like trash. These are the women, like myself, that society ignores and it bothers me. You don’t have to have children, be married, or physically perfect to make a difference in someone’s life and that is where this series comes from.

I am really looking forward to the upcoming months. I can’t wait to see whether or not people like my work, my characters, and my world. You are all amazing.

V. L. Cooke