Author’s Log: All Things Shiny and New (#amwriting, #ROW80)

Okay, guys—here’s the Shiny, New Plan.

Which I will, no doubt, fail miserably at. But I don’t care. I’m going to throw caution (not to mention sanity) to the winds, and give it the ol’ college try anyway.

It should be noted that I, in fact, did not go to college. So this should be interesting to say the least.

My most ambitious goal is release a novella every month beginning in 2016, until my To-Be-Written queue is cleared (meaning sometime in 2020—EEK!), whereupon I will transition to full-time novel writing. This does not mean I will stop writing novels now—but they will be my Bonus Books on the side until further notice. I’ve proven before I can write two books at once, so that’s what I’m going to do—just at a slightly slower pace until I can cull The List.

This means I still need to average around 30K words per month—and if I can manage to draft a chapter a day (not necessarily in consecutive days) I can get potentially get a rough draft done in approximately 10 days. In order to do this, I need to spend a lot more time in Pre-Production than I’ve been doing, because I’ve noticed things go a lot faster when I’ve done all my homework ahead of time (imagine that).

So here’s the new process (I think):

Month 1: Pre-Production—Character work and plot sketching/outlining.

Month 2: Drafting—30K words, or approximately 1 chapter at an average of 3.5k words a day. This will (I hope) leave room for developing the next project and revising a previous one. Once I identify where my writing blocks are, then I can schedule my drafting accordingly (at least 3-4 times per week). I also got myself a tablet so I can take advantage of other little snippets of time as they become available.

Months 3-5: Cooling-Off Period—This is where my rough draft sits out of sight and out of mind for a while, so I can come back to it fresh for revisions. I know this is a long time, but I’m using this as lead time—in other words, getting more first drafts finished faster—but with a release deadline that’s further out, I shouldn’t be rushing anything (and therefore stressing myself out).

But this doesn’t mean I won’t be doing ANY work–I’ll be getting tentative cover art, jacket copy, and advertising plans in order.

Month 6: Revisions—I’m planning on three passes that I will approach with intent. I want to come up with a reliable process here, so I’ll be doing some experimenting over the rest of 2015 so I can hit the ground running next year.

Months 7: Edits—Separate from revisions, this is when I go into BETA, critiques, and professional edits. I come from a background in the performing arts, so collaboration is important to me, but I really need to make more time for it. During this period the manuscript will be out of sight, out of mind again, again so I can come back to it fresh.

Month 8: Post Production—This is for writing jacket copy, designing cover art, the final polishing and formatting of the manuscript, and general administration like creating the landing page on my website and advertising/promotion.

Month 9: Completion/Release: Uploading of the final draft, formal announcements, newsletter blast. ARCs will also go out, so that reviews can start trickling in—release will typically take place on the last Friday of the month.

This is schedule is actually closer to my experience of a traditional publishing schedule. I’ll still be on a ninety-day release schedule for the rest of 2015, so there won’t be any delays to my readers.

Where, previously, my focus had been drafting, I’m hoping my spending more time in Pre- and Post-Production I’ll actually be getting quality books out faster. By focusing more on development, my drafts should come out cleaner the first time, and I’ll waste less time and resources on stumbling blocks and whatnot.

I don’t know if this will work, but hey—what do I have to lose, really?

In other news, I’ve got my three-day pass for my local comic con here in Tampa Bay, and my final costume elements just arrived this week. It’s amazing how just a few years ago this convention was small enough to fit into a single hotel ballroom and now we’re filling a convention center to the rafters for three solid days. Carrie Fisher (Star Wars) will be there, as well as Linda Hamilton (Terminator), Billy West (Futurama), Freema Agyeman (Doctor Who), and Matt Ryan (Constantine), among many others.

I’m hoping to spend less time enduring the exhibition hall this year and more time enjoying the events. *crosses fingers*


The List (Revised):


The Mysterious Adventures of Becca Carlisle (Blood & Steam #2)–DUE 3Q2015

The Innovative Adventures of Lucia Carlisle (Blood & Steam #3)–DUE 4Q2015

Tess (Keepers of the Flame: Origins #4)–DUE 1Q2016

Keepers of the Flame: Origins #5—DUE 1Q2016



The Dragon’s Heart (Fantasy Novel)

Blood & Steam Bonus Story (Tentative)


  1. COMPLETE BLOOD & STEAM #2: In Production

I started drafting this week, and so far, so good. I’ve got all the players at least introduced, and I’m enjoying Becca Carlisle immensely. She’s proper, intelligent, and suffers the shenanigans of her family with aplomb, if not without inconvenience.

  1. DRAFT BLOOD & STEAM #3: Begin Pre-Production this month.

The third installment, starring youngest sister Lucia, will take place in the American West. So I’m watching things like Deadwood and researching the Chinese slave/opium trade prevalent during that time. It was also during that time when the Irish were treated as badly as African-Americans (“Irish Need Not Apply”) signs were all over the place when businesses advertised an open position, meaning proprietors were more willing to take blacks over Irish as employees in a lot of cases.


I’m going to re-touch up my existing Origins covers, finish designing new covers for Waking Muse, and master the art of the jacket copy this month, all in preparation for getting ahead of the game for next month when I start drafting Origins 4 next month and Origins 5 in September.

BONUS GOAL: Lose Some Dang Weight!

I lost almost 3 lbs. last week—woo-hoo!! I also worked out three times this week, so I’m hoping to keep up the pace. I’ve also noticed things tightening and toning, so YAY.

I really need to establish some sort of non-food based reward, like a new piece of clothing every time I reach a goal, and purging my closet of old stuff in the process. Say, for every twenty pounds I lose I exchange an old piece of clothing for something shiny and new.

Okay, fellow ROW-ers—how’s the summer heat effecting your goal pursuits so far? Got any big summer plans to attend conventions or conferences?


4 thoughts on “Author’s Log: All Things Shiny and New (#amwriting, #ROW80)

  1. Fallon says:

    Your new schedule doesn’t sound too far off from mine. Which I decided to change the first couple days into this round. 😉 I may have to shift & adjust it, but it’s at least something to work with. Good luck with yours!

  2. Denise D. Young says:

    Very ambitious goals, but I definitely think you can do it. Like you, I’ve focused a lot on the drafting side of things. In the next year, I need to get some (not all, but some) of my 12 WIPs off my desk and out into the world.

    Good luck!

    1. catemorgan says:

      You, too Denise! I’ve found the pressure of drafting is relieved by spending more time “doing my homework”, so to speak. I’m hoping shifting focus will see my productivity increase.

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