In celebration of my critique partner’s debut novel that releases tomorrow, June 15, I’m participating in my first official event in over a year. WooHoo!
The event is a Zoom conversation all about Southern Gothic, with just a few highlights about each of our new releases. It’s FREE and hosted by The Haunted Book Shop here in downtown Mobile, Alabama, but everyone is welcome to join us–even if you aren’t local.
Register here to receive the link and come hang out with us for an hour. Candice Marley Conner‘s Southern Gothic YA mystery The Existence of Bea Pearl is the main release we’re celebrating. Besides me and Candice, author Jodi Cain Smith is joining us. She is the founder of the Mobile Literary Festival, which I’ve been lucky enough to work on with her from the beginning. Besides that connection, all of us (including Angela from The Haunted Book Shop) are Mobile Writers Guild members, so it will be like a literary family reunion.
If you have any interest in Southern Gothic or want to learn what it’s all about, join us. There will be a Q&A at the end too.
And, one more time, in case you missed the embedded hyper-link above. Here’s the registration information.
After finishing the first draft of my latest project at the end of March, I took a few days off to reset my mind. Powering through 118,000 words in just over two months merits a mini-break. Then, I dove into what I think was my final round–or next to final round–of self edits (draft twenty-four) of Barren Devotion, the seventh novel in The Possession Chronicles.
Yesterday, I completed the first draft of a short story to submit to the next Mobile Writers Guild anthology. The deadline is May first, so I’ll be powering through edits the next few weeks. I even gave it the first round of edits last night after only a couple hours away from it–not the best thing to do, but I’m on a time crunch. Generally, the longer you’re away from a project, the easier it is to see the flaws. Fortunately, I have just enough time to submit the story to my critique group so it can have more eyes on it before submitting. That’s always a good thing–especially for writers like me with dyslexic tendencies.
It looks like the rest of April will be spent editing the short story, while waiting to hear from the editor of Haunted Remains, the 6th novel in The Possession Chronicles. The next book releases this July and several editing rounds with a professional will be happening before then. And the cover art–I always look forward to that.
I already have an idea for another project, but it’s on hold until I see to these deadline projects. I tend to get obsessive about projects and find it difficult to balance more than one at a time, so I hold back the new ideas until I get a clear creative calendar. That doesn’t work for everyone. A lot of people I know, if they don’t act on an idea, they lose it. For me, it builds up like pressure behind a dam and when I get to it, it spews out. Not a pretty visual, but first drafts are messy.
At least, that’s how it’s worked for me the past few years. Creativity has an ebb and flow, just like the rest of life. I used to not be able to fast draft. Now I can–except for last year. It took me thirteen months to draft one novel when the previous six novels took an average of two months each. But this last one put me back on my fast draft schedule. I don’t force it–I go with it. Life is too short to be overly hard on yourself, especially with creativity. Take breaks, reset, allow your output to change with life’s demands. We’re human.
To close out 2019, I’m happy to report that two books I had a part in release into the wild today.
First up is Finally Home: A Christmas Anthology.
The anthology is a collection of romance short stories featuring rescued animals, compiled by Bienvenue Press and proceeds benefit animal rescue charities. “Grace Shadowed” is Possession Chronicles #3.5, but can be read alone. It’s available in print and ebook.
Also out today is Finder’s Keepers. For this book, I was interviewed (along with Candice Marley Conner) about my experience with a critique partner. I also served as a beta reader for the full manuscript and recommend it for writers of all experience levels, with or without an active critique partner. Find more information about the book here.That’s it from me for 2019. There are plenty of books to keep you reading into 2020–both mine and otherwise. This Christmas, and always, please consider leaving book reviews. It’s the perfect gift for authors. Until next year…
First up, on Small Business Saturday (November 30), I’ll be at The Haunted Book Shop in downtown Mobile, Alabama, from 11 am until 1 pm, signing books and chatting with those who stop by. I’ll have a few freebies and fun visuals, so if you’re in the area, come say hello. The Haunted Book Shop, Mobile’s biggest and best indie bookstore, is two floors of literary finds in all genres–new and used. The first three Possession Chronicles novels (including this month’s release, Tendrils of Passion), as well as Fortitudeand a couple anthology collections I have short stories in, will be available for purchase. And if you can’t make it in person, shop the online store–they ship! On December 10, my next release hits the shelves. “Grace Shadowed” is a Possession Chronicles short story (Possession Chronicles #3.5, for those reading the series) that is included in Finally Home: A Christmas Anthology by Bienvenue Press.
The collection features animal rescue themed romances, so my offering is a bit fluffier than my typical stories (pun intended.) I did manage to add in a few Gothic nods and dropped a truth bomb about one of the characters in the series (Ruth Melling) that you won’t find anywhere else. Pre-orders will be available soon. I’ll include the link in my December newsletter.
Also on December 10 is a release that will interest the writers out there. One of my critique partners and I were interviewed for Finders Keepers: A Practical Approach to Find and Keep Your Writing Critique Partner. I was able to beta read it and can say it covers everything about how to handle a critique partnership–and I’ve come to understand how good I have it with my situation. (Thanks, Candice, and members of Write Club!)
Happy reading–and Happy Thanksgiving to those celebrating this week.
I’m halfway through the second round of content edits on Corroded (Surge Imprint from Anaiah Press, April 2016), which makes it at least the fiftieth revision. It’s been a learning curve, to be sure! Even though it’s coming out second, this is the oldest “book baby” of my adult life. My first born, but she had to stay in the ICU so that the second child, Fortitude, will be out in the world four months ahead of her.
Corroded has been through two different critique groups, a full manuscript critique by Laurie Halse Anderson, and a handful of beta readers. Not to mention that it went through two rounds of submissions—and rejections—in the past four years (when I thought she was mature enough) before she was accepted this year (on the “first” try.) I’ve swaddled and re-diapered this story more than anything else I’ve ever worked on. Early readers will recognize the story, but Corroded is now so much more than I thought possible when she was formed a decade ago.
In the beginning, I was too close to the main character. By separating myself from her, I was able to dig deeper. How is that? Probably the same way you can find yourself by losing yourself in service. I had to give up my own ideals to find the true complexities of the characters. And in doing that, I maneuvered through the layers of the story to find the heart. I journeyed so far that I ended up with two main characters and dual point-of-view novel.
Thought it all, I couldn’t give up on Corroded. The story needed extra nurturing and that took time off and on throughout my other projects. Even now, there’s work to be done, but I’m confident the book will be the best version of itself when it’s finally released from the nursery. Anaiah Press has given me a stellar editor to make sure that happens. It’s been a longtime coming and I’m grateful for each step of the journey.