I’m running behind. 

In my “entity” as M.A. Lee, my current mystery The Hazard of Secrets was supposed to be finished on the last day of June. Here it is 25 days later, and I’m still not finished. I’m running behind.

For HoS, I have 5 to 7 more chapters to write. My expected word count was 55,000. I am currently at 50,000-plus.

When I look at the scenes that are necessary to finish the mystery and solve the crime and close the other threads, I think that word count is going to be closer to 70,000 than 65,000. Those extra words are part of the problem.

However, the main problem with running behind is TIME. Writers can’t find the time to catch up.

Throughout July and the tail end of June–the reason that I am running behind–I’ve only managed two days of creative writing each week. As I am looking ahead to the end of July, I see no time to write on Friday or Saturday or Sunday, and maybe a little time on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.  This is the kind of thing that drives me crazy!

I’ve had tons of disruptions–and have used the time crowded around those disruptions (when the brain won’t settle to creativity) to work on revisions–and I have been contending with a back injury at the end of May. I just found out that the back injury is actually a broken rib. No wonder I’ve been hurting and not able to sleep the night through.

12th rib. A floating one. It’s the bottom-most rib. Right there at my liver. Yikes!

When I launch into a year, I have a plan, the Yearly Plan, of what I hope to accomplish. For most of my teaching career, I over-scheduled. That helps when you’re dealing with teen-agers: Idle hands and the devil’s workshop and all that.

So~

Based on my plan at the start of the year, Me as M.A. Lee should be in the middle of my 11th Hearts in Hazard book, The Hazard for Spies. Well, no.

That plan also had me nearly finished with a writing craft book, Discovering Your Characters. I was supposed to be working slowly through that nonfiction book (5th in the Discovering / Think like a Pro Writer series). Nope. I have about 21,000 of an expected 35,000 guidebook. I know what needs to come next. I’ve got words roughed out, some merely sketched out, and the vaguest of ideas for the rest.

At the start of June I re-adjusted by Yearly Plan at the start of June. I knew I was running behind on HoSecrets;  H4Spies should start around July 20. I knew I was running behind on DiscChar; I figured I would finish it around July 30.

That ain’t going to happen.

Yes, I said ain’t.

Now my whole Yearly Plan is thrown off. Gee whillikers.

Mysteries by M.A. Lee ~

I may not have anything written, but I have the H4S cover!
Hazard of Secretsnew deadline: August 15.

Hazard for Spies, new deadline: October 15.

That will finish the 12-book Hearts in Hazard series. I’ve enjoyed Regency mysteries. I’ve discovered that I’m really not happy writing “suspense” and “scary” and that I prefer mysteries and vintage gothics a la Mary Stewart and Phyllis A. Whitney and Victoria Holt.

One of the things that I have wanted to do for this series is to turn them into real paperbacks. Holding the book (rather than the electronic device), flipping the pages, dipping in and out–that’s a reader’s true joy. So, converting the manuscripts to paperback is the plan for 2020.

As for the Rest of my Writing Year

Writing Craft Books ~ also Me as M.A. Lee

Discovering Your Characters, new deadline: August 15 (half-a-month behind)

Discovering Your Plotnew deadline, September 30 (30 days behind). 50% is already roughly written; the rest has notes and ideas and sketched points that should speed along.
Discovering Your Author Brand, new deadline ??? About 15% is roughly written. The rest will have to come from scratch.
Discovering Sentence Craft, new deadline ~ ??? May not make 2019, so early in 2020.

Fantasy ~ Me as Remi Black and Me as Edie Roones (Oooh, two for one).

I have two fantasy novellas that I want to write. I really, really enjoyed the one that I published in early May. Writing To Wield the Wind was inspired and inspiring. I’m going to enjoy returning to this world with parts 2 and 3 of this Enclave World series under my pseudonym of Remi Black.

These two novellas to finish the series will happen, even if it means the Writing Craft books are pushed back into 2020. That’s okay. I want to bundle all five of the Discovering / Think like a Pro Writer books as ebooks as well as put them into paperback form. The paperback form wasn’t going to be possible until 2020, so I’ll just combine those projects into one big focus.

Poor Edie Roones is just sitting there, hanging out, waiting for her turn. I have the Sansward four-part series to finish, with Spring Magicks. I have ideas but nothing written. That’s on schedule for 2020 as well.

2019 Becomes 2020

I need to finish the Isabella Into Death series with Portrait with Death. That’s M.A. Lee. Maybe it will happen in 2020, maybe not.

M.A. Lee has 14 novels (as well as 4 nonfiction books) under that pseudonym. Finishing the Into Death series will put that number at 15. Ideas are popping up for the next series already. Geez, brain, slow down a little.
I need to devote more writing time to Remi Black and Edie Roones. Under my Remi Black pseudonym I have two novellas that I am desperate to write as well as the last 3 Alstera / Enclave books. I have more ideas for the Edie Roones pseudonym, remaining focused on Medieval–fantasy and mystery as separate lines.

When I look at 2020, I see so much that I want to write already, and this is not even an official plan!

Heavens,

so even if I’m running Behind,

LIFE IS GOOD!

The Dangers to Hearts

Do broken hearts destroy all dreams?

Years ago, Agatha Helmes’ lover abandoned her.  When her baby died at birth, she thought all her hopes for the future had ended.

She poured herself into her family’s farm, but in the last year, mismanagement by three different stewards has the farm losing more money than she can pour into it.

Jess Carter occasionally crewed for a known smuggler to bring a little extra into his home.  He fell for a maid working at the Hawthorn Inn.  Then the smuggling ring was arrested.  The woman he thought he loved married another man.  With a bruised heart for company, he packed up all his possessions and left his home.

Not knowing where to go, Jess consulted the smugglers’ fence Richard Helmes who directed him to Helmes Farm to assist the current steward.  His cousin Agatha Helmes, he says, will hire anyone he sends to her.

When Jess arrives, the current steward is assaulting Agatha.  He routs the old steward and finds himself in a job he doesn’t understand, taking advice and orders from a woman.

Agatha knows only one thing about her new steward:  he doesn’t lie.  Jess admits what he knows and doesn’t know about farming.  He admits that he is avoiding arrest for smuggling.  That is more than she can say about her former stewards and her former fiancé.

Trust between Agatha and Jess grows from a seed to a mighty oak.  Attraction entwines them with compatibility and grows the first tendrils of love.

Then the steward’s cottage is set on fire, and Jess barely escapes.

The burned house reveals an old murder as the bones of Agatha’s former lover are discovered—with a bullet hole in the skull.

And the deed to Helmes Farm and other documents go missing.

With Agatha’s cousin trying to steal her farm, can Jess reveal her cousin hired him to watch out for his interests?

Will the constable investigating the new arson and the old murder think Agatha guilty of murdering her lover when he wouldn’t marry her?

And will their new love survive the questions and confusion?

The Dangers to Hearts is a sweet romantic suspense of approximately 50,000 words.  While the novel is the sixth in the Hazards to Hearts series, it is complete and contains no cliffhangers.  The character of Jess Carter was introduced in the first Hearts in Hazard book, A Game of Secrets.  Reading that novel will enrich your experience, but it is not necessary.