Tuesday, October 5, 2021

The Calm Before November

October is, quite thankfully, turning out to be a quiet month on most fronts. I may have overbooked myself just sliiiiightly in all of 2021. Technically I overbooked myself for 2020 because 2019 went so well, but then most everything rolled over and weekends collided and more event opportunities became available that I hadn't signed up for yet. Partner that with my ambitious publishing schedule, being down with covid myself, caring for MIL, and my daughter's health issues...and well, it all got to a lot too much. So when two events cancelled this month, I was very okay with that. I've spent one quiet day working in my very weedy flower garden and another zoning out to Netflix. (currently wrapping up TURN: Washington's Spies after watching the last season of Lucifer after all of Arrow) No. I do no have a Netflix binge problem. I'm totally fine. 

Given that previous paragraph, it shouldn't be a huge shock to say that I'm officially bumping Seeker: Book 4 of The Narvan to a Spring release. I'm waiting for Minor Years to appear in my inbox tonight from the proofreader. That book, if my world doesn't fall apart, should be out at some point in November. 

If you've read Trust and would like a review e-book copy of Minor Years - which directly follows Trust and leads up to Chain of Grey), let me know in the comments below.  

My plans for October involve formatting Minor Years, relaxing, doing a quick outline for my upcoming NaNoWriMo project, relaxing, signing books at Fandom Fest in Benton Harbor MI, relaxing, and doing some more weeding in my garden. 

Why all the need for relaxing? I mean, on top of that first paragraph of ugh? November is NaNoWriMo year 16 for me and that means its time to churn out a super rough draft of new novel! And also, do book signings every weekend. Then there's that Thanksgiving thing, and only my daughter knows if she's sticking with college or moving back home and whatever that might bring. Woo boy. I'm exhausted just looking at this.

Will I book myself a little lighter next year? Yes. Will I not publish 5 books next year? Yes. Have I learned a little something here? Yep. Will I continue to spend too much time watching Netflix? Also, yeeessssss.

If you're not familiar with 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.

Which brings us to this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group question: Where in your writing do you draw the line with topics or language?

If you've read my books, you undoubtedly know that language is a no line thing. I am no lady. I swear like a sailor as do most of my characters. Some far more than others, but yes, profanity abounds. 

Topics, however, are a different. I try to steer clear of  most controversial topics because I want readers to enjoy the story rather than listen to me preach my views. 

I did once write a suicide story. It was heartbreaking and written to help my cope with the loss of a cousin. Once it was complete, I read it and then deleted it. Not because it was horrible, but because it had fulfilled its purpose. To this day, that's the only story I've ever deleted. Everything else, even the cringe-worthy garbage, is gathering dust somewhere on a shelf or hard drive. I suppose, to answer the question, I draw the line at stories that are too personal or might hurt people I know no matter how fictionalized the content might be. 

Are you doing NaNo this year? Are you a fan of swearing or not?


Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Cover Reveal and IWSG September

It took nine months but I'm finally feeling sort of kind of maybe on top of things for a day or two. Shhh, I didn't actually say that out loud. *looks around nervously*

The Minor Years - a Narvan Novel has been sent of to the proof reader as of Monday morning. The cover is mostly done. The blurb is written. The cover? I should share that, shouldn't I? 
I'm excited to share this novel with everyone this fall. It's a companion novel to the main series, told from the point of view of the secondary characters and takes place in the gap between Trust and Chain of Grey.
An official release day is coming. Stay tuned!

Seeker: The Narvan Book 4 is hanging out in Canada with Stella. Check out her book and her book reviews while you wait for her to finish putting red marks all over mine. 

In other news, I'm working on a short story for a special project while waiting for another author to finish her edits so I can proofread her next book. And brainstorming on a proposed new co-authored series. Always plenty of projects. Never a dull moment!

Where can you find me this month?
Newaygo Logging Festival - Newaygo, MI - Sept 3-5
Frontier Days - Charlotte, MI - Sept 10- 12
Monroe Pop Fest - Monroe, MI - Sept 17 & 18
Berlin Flea Market - Marne, MI - Sept 25

If you're not familiar with 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.

Which brings us to... this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group question: How do you define success as a writer? 

Success is a lot of of things. Finishing a book. Your first book. Your next book. Sticking through any book through the editing process. Getting published. Doing your first book signing. Top of my list would be having readers come back year after year for my newest book. Readers make all the work worthwhile. Thank you, readers!

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

IWSG - Spindelkin and Upcoming Books

If you're not familiar with 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.
August means lots more book signing events, new chapters of Spindelkin and progress on upcoming releases. 

This month, you can find me at:

 August 7 - Art in the Park - Holland, MI

August 14 & 15 - Blueberry Festival - South Haven, MI

August 17 & 18 - Manistee Co. Fair - Manistee, MI

August 21 - Arts and Drafts - Norton Shores, MI

New chapters of Spindelkin are available on Kindle Vella. The first three chapters are free. Vella is also still giving away 200 free credits if you sign up now.  

Princess Amira has heard wondrous stories about the kingdom of Katra, but her illness has kept her from seeing any of it. Her maids last only weeks and the king and queen are busy. When the queen gives birth to a baby boy, Amira hopes to finally have a playmate. But her bother is misshapen like one of the terrifying storybook forest creatures. He’s left alone to die. In order to save him, Amira must defy her parents and everything she’s ever known or face loneliness for the rest of her days.

I've been busy working through my projects along with everything else. The Minor Years is in line edits and Seeker : Book 4 of The Narvan is heading off to developmental editing this weekend. Yay for progress!

And now on to this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group Question: What's your favorite writing craft book? 
Stein on Writing has been the most helpful for me. Lots of great advice for character and plot development and just enough humor to get you through the editing process. 

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

IWSG: July brings book news and more signing dates

If you're not familiar with 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.
Wherever you are, I hope you're enjoying your summer. I've been spending my weekends outside meeting readers, which really, beats doing yardwork any day.  

This month you can find me in: 

Allendale, MI at Out of the Barn July 9-11

Ferrysburg, MI at the Tri Cities Artist Incubator July 17

Grand Ledge, MI at the Island Art Fair July 31

Book updates:

Traveling Circus at the Skeleton Key (book 3) is now available at many online retailers. This was my first go at co-writing a book. I figured why not make it interesting by diving in on book 3? If you have any young adult readers, give this fantasy series a try. Magic powers, a circus, a mermaid, and so much more!

Spindelkin is releasing to Kindle Vella, which is due to go live at some point in the next week or two. The first six chapters are available with new chapters releasing every week or so (as my schedule allows). I'd hoped to have the whole book ready to go on Vella when it opened, but then life interrupted my ambitious plans with caring for my MIL for three months, health issues with my daughter, and then me catching Covid. Things are all better now, but now I'm far behind on my self-imposed schedule. Spindelkin is also a YA fantasy, along the lines of a dark fairy tale, intended for a younger audience than my current books but enjoyable for adults as well. 

The Minor Years: A Narvan Novel completed major edits and is now in the nitpicky editing phase before getting a out loud read through and then heading off to the proofreader. This one is on track for a fall release.

And now.... This month's IWSG question: What would make you quit writing? 

Quit as in never start back up again? Probably nothing short of loosing my facilities or death. I write for me as much as for an audience.  However, there are things in life that have made me take a break from writing such as: having babies, a divorce and other stretches of super stressful situations, and illness. I suppose that's good news for those of you waiting on the Book 4 of The Narvan. :) 

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

IWSG June - Meeting readers and a new upcoming release!

If you're not familiar with 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.
 Are we seriously halfway through the year already? It seems like every time I write one of these posts the

 time that has passed seems to have flown by in a blur. At least I'm back out at events. It's been great talking to people in person again. I've done a renaissance faire and two craft shows since my last post and met a lot of readers. And got sunburned, even as I sat there this past weekend on a particularly chilly day shivering after it being nearly 90F the weekend before. Ah Michigan weather.

June brings more book signings. I'll be in Charlotte this weekend, then Holland, White Lake, and finally, Muskegon at the Lakeshore Art Festival. There's also a free virtual book festival going on this month through Pages Promotions. Meet several indie authors every night and get entered to win free books just by attending. I'll be a guest on June 25.

I hope to have another book release date announcement this month. This time, I've co-authored a young YA fantasy novel, Traveling Circus and the Skeleton Key - book 3 of a series. 

And now onward to this month's IWSG question:

For how long do you shelve your first draft, before reading it and re-drafting? Is this dependent on your writing experience and the number of stories/books under your belt?

Currently, now that I've written around fifteen full novels (some of which you'll never see), I only wait a few weeks to a month between rough draft and first edit. Usually I go on a binge reading fest or hit Netflix as way to cleanse my writer brain of what I've just written so that I can review the story with fresh-ish eyes and get to cleaning it up.

That said, I also have books that are still in first draft from when they were written years ago that are waiting for their chance at a re-draft. Most of the time those books are ones that are missing something. That could be a middle or ending, have a major plot issue, or maybe just that spark that drives me to dive back into the story and clean it up with the first edit. I'll get to them eventually.

Overall, I'd say writing lots of books helps refine your process so you churn out a cleaner first draft, know how to productively approach your redraft/first edit, and learn just how much time you need to read that first draft objectively.