Summer Writes, Reads, and Edits

It’s meltingly hot here in Mobile, Alabama, which means it’s a typical August along the Gulf Coast. My favorite thing to do in August are indoor activities including reading, writing, and editing.

On August first, I completed the first draft of the final manuscript in the trilogy I began in the autumn of 2019. It took me until December 2020 to complete the first book (about fourteen months), but this year I was able to knock out the second and third over-written installments in three months or less each. Hooray! (And when I say over-written, I mean it. The third project ended at 126,165 words.)

My plan is to release this nameless trilogy after the main body of The Possession Chronicles is completely published–which will hopefully be by the middle of 2022. That means plenty of time for working the dozens of rounds of edits each of the manuscripts need before they become books. Last week, I chronologically edited all three of them for the first time and I’m pleased with the overall trilogy arc, but I know individually they each need a lot of cutting and polishing.

Right now, I’m working my final personal round of edits on Barren Devotion, the seventh novel in The Possession Chronicles. It’s officially draft twenty-five, but it will get a couple more go-throughs with the editor I’m assigned to work with by Bienvenue Press. I’m hoping for a Winter release, but it will be Spring ’22 at the latest.

Now for the reading news. Last week in POSSESSED: Timeless Gothic Reads group on Facebook, I co-hosted a week-long discussion on Darkwater by Dorothy Eden. It was great to share one of my favorite novelists with fellow Gothic fans, many who were reading her for the first time. Dorothy Eden is my favorite for Gothic Romance (which Darkwater is), but I love her family sagas even more.

One of the visuals I shared during the discussion.

My current read is Steamboat Gothic, a delicious Southern Gothic family saga by another favorite author, Frances Parkinson Keyes. I’m not quite halfway and already it’s nudged into the top five of her books that I’ve read so far. Thinking it will be a top three contender.

You can follow all my reading adventures on Goodreads. I chart what I’m reading and leave short reviews when complete. I’ve read 30 books so far this year.

What are you reading right now?

Springing Along

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.

One of the period pieces of photography that helped me set the mood for Barren Devotion.

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.

Cover Reveal

In just over two months, Tendrils of Passion, book three of The Possession Chronicles, will be released. I’ve completed the last major round of edits (only proofing to go) and this week I’m sharing the cover art. Created by Ashley Byland of Redbird Designs, it features key character Claudio De Fiore amid ruins, which represent the destruction sin has on the lives of the characters.

Tendrils of Passion by Carrie Dalby
I love the use of looming architecture behind the characters on the book covers. The look is cohesive and each gives insight into the featured characters. Do you have a favorite so far?

November will be here before we know it, so catch up on The Possession Chronicles today. Remember, you can claim a free digital copy of The Possession Chronicles prequel short story, “Masked Flaws”, by subscribing to my monthly newsletter. It’s a great way to introduce you to the historical setting and the main players or to dive deeper into the world and see how things began for some of your favorite characters the year before Perilous Confessions.

The Horizon

Tendrils of Passion, book three of The Possession Chronicles, releases this November. The editor will have the manuscript back to me by one week from today so I can go through my next round of edits (which brings my total to around thirty editorial passes for this manuscript since I wrote the first draft.) I’ll have about two weeks to complete and return. Deadlines are always part of the writing journey.

That means the next few days I’m pushing to finish my current project–which involves a character in the above collage–so I can let that sit while I focus on Tendrils of Passion. Can you guess who I’m writing about? I’ve shared that information with my monthly newsletter subscribers, as well as posted excerpts from the first draft with my readers group. Those are the places you’ll hear news first–including cover reveals. I update the blog about twice a month to help those who don’t follow me on social media stay informed on the highlights of my literary news, but if you want more, be sure to check out all the places you can find me on the Contact page.

Time to get back to writing.

A Lull in the Storm

It’s been a whirl year of books so far, but now things are settling down. This month–besides the release of Fortitude–I worked a round of professional edits on my next release. Murmurs of Evil, book two of The Possession Chronicles, will be available June 11. After finishing that editorial pass, I slipped into book three for a tightening round and now I’m on book four for the sixteenth time. I’m pleased to report the series is still as enjoyable for me to work on as ever–and that feels great.

I’m excited to share more of The Possession Chronicles with readers, so much so that I started an insider’s readers group on Facebook for those looking for more facts and inspiration behind my stories. To join the fun and learn more about my writing process in regards to all my stories, check out Dalby’s Darklings.

If an online group isn’t your thing, be sure you’re registered for my monthly newsletter. I send it out the first week of the month (next week for April), highlighting upcoming news/events, what I’ve been reading, and more.

Sneak peek: next up, I’ll be at Gulf Coast Children’s Book Festival in support of Fortitude on April 4.