Thursday, August 31, 2017

Twelve Weeks--1.5 weeks and counting

Yesterday I typed more words than I have yet in this challenge and still only got halfway to my daily goal. But it's progress.

More importantly, I have discovered what this book is actually about. Some may say that's something that should be known before the book is actually begun. It has never worked that way for me. As a plantser, my writing takes me directions I do not plan. That pesky subconscious or muse keeps pushing me away from my ideas for the book. So, eventually I see and agree with my muse (we'll just call it that--subconscious, God, or whatever "it" actually is.)

So, what is the book about? I believe (I'm at the halfway point and so this may change) it's about sacrifices we make for love. And the interesting thing is sacrifice often involves submitting to the other in order to receive gifts from them. Submission between those who love one another is a two-way street--both must give and take. The person who refuses to allow the other to serve is in actuality saying, "I don't need you." We must allow those we love to be needed.

Off to work!

I'll be blogging over at Sweet Americana Sweethearts blog every other month. Check out the blog by clicking on the name above to find some great historical romance authors! 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Update on Twelve Weeks to a Trilogy

I am off to a slow start. As you know, I call myself a plantser--part planner and part pantser. In other words, I outline but also will go off track and follow rabbit trails. When I jump the track, I re-outline. I went through five or six outlines for my last book. And I'm on my third or fourth outline for this one. 

In the outline for this novella, an incident was supposed to occur in Chapter 2. I wrote the chapter, but the incident did not happen. Okay, I thought, I'll just add it to Chapter 3. It didn't happen ... again. When I got to Chapter 4 and ack! It just wasn't going to happen. My subconscious (we once called it the Muse) refused to cooperate with my conscious. 

I debated whether to rip up the chapters and begin anew (forcing my subconscious in line with my conscious) or rip up the outline and begin where I was at (forcing my conscious to line up with my subconscious). I decided to do the latter. However, that was not particularly easy. My outline had to be forced to conform to the new story line. 

And there was a plot hole. Writing often looks a lot like this ...
... with the glazed stare and all. 

Finally I decided to begin writing and see where it led me (I went into full pantsing mode).

After a couple of chapters, I realized the direction my subconscious wanted to go. 

And today I was able to re-outline the rest of the book. Hmm ... which doesn't mean the outline will not change. But at least I have some notion of the direction to head in and that's enough for now!

I should be at 24000 words at this point. I'm not yet at 5000. I built in a couple of weeks for editing purposes and also to use as catch-up weeks. Unless my speed increases, I'll be far short of my goal at the end of twelve weeks. It is possible, although not probable, that I can catch up by the end of the week ... if I can learn to type as fast as the cat above.

Send me good thoughts! Thanks!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Cover Reveal for Abby and Joshua

I have shared the cover before but decided it needed its own post. Don't you love when a cowboy tips his hat? This book is available for pre-order here

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. 

During this time, I will finish Abby and Joshua, up for pre-order on Amazon, around 21,000 words. Publication date is September 30th. Immediately afterwards, I'll publish Robbie and Taron, Libby and Ander, Abby and Joshua together in paperback form. The title of the book will be At the River.

After Abby and Joshua, I'll continue the stories of Robbie, Libby, and Abby in another set of novellas, The Women of River Ranch. The titles will be Robbie, Libby, and Abby , or maybe, Mrs. Taron, Mrs. Ander, Mrs. Joshua or maybe Robbie's Refusal, Libby's Loss, and Abby's Arrival--the titles are a work in progress. When all three are complete, I'll publish as By the River.

I'll do the next three novellas as The Men of River Ranch. The paperback is tentatively titled Through the River.

(I have a gadget in the sidebar, normally used for fundraising, to keep track of the words I write. Twelve weeks to 159,000!) 

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!