Wednesday, August 16, 2017


When I first began writing seriously after dabbling on and off for years, sitting and typing out the words was a difficult task, literally. I suffered from some type of brain injury, making it almost impossible to form coherent sentences. I had to force the words from my brain and out through my fingers. 

I rewarded myself for my work--fifteen minutes of writing and then fifteen minutes of playing a computer game. Slowly, I finished the book. 

And then I discovered NaNoWriMo--National Novel Writing Month where folks attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in a month. I succeeded the first time I attempted it, through computer crashes and health problems. It proved to me that writing quickly is doable and not as difficult as I supposed. At the end of a month, the finished product is seldom polished to perfection but at least something exists that can be formed into a readable book (hopefully).

Technology is at our fingertips. Writers can research in a few seconds what previously took years or months. We also have writing tools readily available. Can't quite find the word you're looking for? Check the online Thesaurus. Having difficulty planning out your book? Well, yes, there are resources available for that also. 

One of the problems is too much information. We can get bogged down in the reading of articles purporting to help, and sometimes become paralyzed by the options available. 

Once we've learned to navigate the minefield of distractions, most of today's writers are able to produce a book much more quickly than our predecessors, especially when we learn the techniques that work for us (and that learning curve takes some time--ten years for me).

Most of us have also learned how to handle distraction or, at least, to keep them at a minimum. Not all writers are the same. In my case, I must have quiet time for my ideas to percolate and seep and steep. Interruptions are like removing the tea bag from the cup, and then plunging it back into cold water. Yeah ... not much flavor will go into the water now. 

In other words, while the writing is hot, I need to keep typing away, getting down as much as possible, without being interrupted. And that's still a work in progress. Life happens, and we must deal with the reality instead of the problems in our virtual worlds.

All that to say this. I am going to try something difficult, something that might be impossible, but that I think is doable. The challenge is this: Write a trilogy in twelve weeks. I've joined seventy-two other authors (as of this writing) in this challenge. 

I am cheating in a way. I've written the first book in the cozy mystery genre, to be published under a pen name, Abagail Eldan. A few folks have read it, but it's has sold fewer than any of my other books. I have unpublished it and plan to rewrite. Since this is a cheat on my part, I've thrown two novellas into the challenge as well.

This is the new blurb for Frail Branch, although it continues to be a work in progress:

Ezekiel Hunter has never seen a mansion, has never been involved in a murder investigation, and has never seen a girl more beautiful than Grace Phillips.

Zeke's father died when he was four and his mother spiraled into mental illness. Zeke keeps the farm going ... until the day his mother burns down the house around her. 

Zeke is on the way to an army hospital for an emergency appendectomy. The surgery reveals an untreatable heart condition.

At only eighteen, Zeke loses his home, his parents, and his health.

A friend from a wealthy family invites the distraught Zeke to the Drake Mansion to convalesce, and he becomes infatuated with Grace who barely bothers to give him the time of day.

That is, until her brother-in-law is accused of murdering the wealthy Mr. Drake, and she enlists Zeke’s help to unravel the mystery.

Zeke’s new found friends in the mansion and his growing closeness with Grace give his respite from his worries. And yet, one of them must be the murderer.

With any luck, Zeke will discover the killer and perhaps escape his own death … but it may not be so easy, with troubles dogging his every step.

And these are the covers for the trilogy:

Each book will the around 40,000  to 60,000 words in length.

Also, during this time, I will write Abby and Joshua, up for pre-order on Amazon, around 21,000 words. 

After Abby and Joshua, I'll continue the stories of Robbie, Libby, and Abby in another set of novellas under a new series name, The Wives (or maybe Women) of River Ranch. The titles will be Robbie, Libby, and Abby , or maybe, Mrs. Taron, Mrs. Ander, Mrs. Joshua or maybe Robbie's Revelation, Libby's Loss, and Abby's Arrival--something along those lines.

If I continue with these characters, I'll do the next three as The Men of River Ranch. Anyway, I hope to have the first Wives of River Ranch (Robbie's Story), written during the twelve week period.

I'll do a separate page with the schedule and my progress. All together, I plan to write around 165,000 to 180,000 words in the twelve week period. I'll can't wait to begin this on the 21st!

(I have a gadget in the sidebar, normally used for fundraising, to keep track of the words I write. Twelve weeks to 180,000!) 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017


Libby and Ander is up for pre-order now. The publication date is only 4 days away, August 12th.

Carl and I were discussing my writing journey of Libby and Ander. This has probably been the most by-the-seat-of-my-pants writing I've ever done. It's also been one of the most enjoyable pieces I've ever written. Not sure if they correlate but perhaps they do. 

Anyway, it's done and uploaded and locked in. Whew! 

Up next is Abby and Joshua, already available for pre-order. I have the cover and have shared it in my newsletter, and it's also on Amazon. Technically, this is not a cover reveal but thought I'd share for those who might not have seen it yet.
And here are all three covers:
Abby and Joshua has a publication date of September 30th. The three novellas will be consolidated into a paperback book entitled Down to the River. The publication date for the paperback will be early October.

Plans are to write three more novellas with the same characters. The possible title of the series will be The Brides of River Ranch. The titles of each novella might be Robbie, Libby, and Abby. I'm still considering the logistics of that. Will that be confusing for potential readers? Since those three will not be written until next year, pondering time is plentiful.

I've made a decision concerning the future of my writing. While I would enjoy writing fantasy and sci-fi, I do not foresee the time to do so.

If I quit the western romance books, writing fantasy and sci-fi might be feasible, but at this moment, that seems unlikely.

The westerns will not be my only writing, Lord willing. Cozy mystery remains my favorite genre. I published one cozy, Frail Branch, and the other day, I unpublished it. I've decided to write A Tree's Response Series as a trilogy. The first book will be re-written, the second is outlined and ready to write, and the third is roughly outlined. Each mystery will be around 40,000 words (a short novel) and will be a standalone. However, the three together will form one complete story, if I do my job right. 

This is true of the western novellas. The three together form one complete story and yet each novella stands alone.

After receiving feedback on the covers for the mysteries, this is what I've arrived at.

I'm working on the new blurb for Frail Branch and hope to re-write it soon. 

Also notice that I'll be using a pen name when these are published. Frail Branch will probably be published in December of this year and the other two early next year. Hope you look for them!