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!

Assassination.  A fugitive comtesse.  A lethal sleep-spell. 
Wyre and wraiths.  Wizardry against sorcery.  And regicide.

In Dream a Deadly Dream, a sorcerer’s plot to kill the king weaves together past and present, dream and reality, to create a nightmare that can kill.

The Fugitive Comtesse

For three years Cherai, the comtesse Muirée, has hidden from the conspirators who assassinated her father.  Now, in the weeping season, a sorcerer has woven a lethal sleep-snare to entrap her.  Although she doesn’t know it, she holds the key to the conspirators’ chance to seize the throne of Vaermonde, a chance thwarted when they killed her father too quickly.  The poisoned nightmares sent by the sorcerer will compel Cherai to turn herself over to her father’s murderers.

Only a chance-met wizard can free her from the sorcerous sleep-spell.

The Exiled Wizard

Alstera wandered into Vaermonde, seeking an opportunity to rid herself of the bindings on her power.  When she encounters Cherai, she realizes the nightmares are caused by a sorcerer.  Breaking a simple sleep-spell without any expectation of extrinsic reward should remove one of the bindings.  Selfishly, she attaches herself to Cherai.

Yet the sleep-spell is not a simple one:  it is a powerful sleep-snare, designed to kill once the conspirators have the document that Cherai’s father hid.  Alstera must use forbidden blood-magic—another crime against wizardry—to slip her powers through the binding sigils tattooed on her wrists.

Will the poisoned nightmares kill Cherai?  Can Alstera free her from the sorcerer’s web before the conspirators kill the king?  Threats come from both enemies and friends, from steely blades and magickal spells.

Dream a Deadly Dream, a novel of 119,000 words, is the second book in the Enclave series.  Enclave 1: Weave a Wizardry Web explores Alstera’s crimes, for which she was bound and banished.  While Dream is a continuation of Alstera’s story in Web, both novels are complete and without cliff-hangers.  

Available exclusively on Amazon

 

  Least becomes great.  Greatest becomes least.  Two wizards travel sharp-bladed roads in Weave a Wizardry Web.

    “Wizard against sorcerer.  Fae against dragon.  Wyre against Rhoghieri.”  As children in the Wizard Enclave, Camisse and her niece Alstera recited that catechism daily.  Yet the war against sorcery seems far from the Enclave, and the current leaders have forgotten that childhood chant.

THE LEAST
cover design by the talented people of Deranged Doctor Design

    Camisse hasn’t forgotten.  Commander of an outpost, she defends the border against the sorcerers and wyre of Frost Clime.  Her greatest fear is Dragon Rising, the day banished dragons will join Frost Clime.  The Enclave’s forces are not strong enough to repel a triple alliance.

    Faeron recently forced a renewed alliance on the Enclave, which angered the hidebound leaders.  Her mother the ArchClans had promised to renew an alliance with the Rhoghieri.  Camisse is appalled that the Rho haven’t been approached.

    Then the wyre slip into the Enclave and kill wizards.   Camisse recognizes the evidence of wyre attack, but her leaders won’t accept it.  She may be a successful border commander, yet she fumbles when working spells.

    With the aid of a Fae masquerading as a wizard, Camisse discovers she wields Fire.  With Pearroc’s help, she no longer muddles her spells. 

THE GREATEST

    Granddaughter of the ArchClans, Alstera is the greatest Enclave wizard.  Frost Clime and Dragon Rising drive her to investigate ways to increase the powers of wizards.  Her search leads to a forbidden spell called the Nexus.  This taboo linkage funnels power from enthralled wielders to a single wizard, a slavery that breaks a tenet of wizardry.

    When Alstera meets Sanglier, he invites her to join a sharing circle.  Wielders can link power, each one sharing, each one wielding.  Even her cousin Faone, a Naught, can work spells in Sanglier’s circle.

    Yet Sanglier is a sorcerer disguised as a wizard, intent on undermining the Enclave.  Killing the commander Camisse will wreck the border defenses, allowing Frost Clime’s invasion.  Decimating the Enclave in its very heart will ensure victory for his mission.  His spells hide the wyre pack from the wizards.  Sanglier plots to insert a wyre in the ArchClans’ own house.  He commands the wyre Arctos to turn

Faone.  And he tricks Alstera into using blood spells as well as practicing the forbidden linkage.

ORDEAL

    Camisse learns that her scheming mother, in a political maneuver to become ArchClans, was the one who shackled her Fire powers.  Angry at her family, she turns to Pearroc—but he is a protégé of her mother’s chief opponent.  Can she trust him with her powers and her heart?  And can she believe anything he says when she discovers he is a masked Fae?

    Alstera’s friend Nevil, for dabbling in the taboo Nexus, is spell-shackled, reduced to less than a Naught.  Devastated, he commits suicide.  Alstera knows the sharing circle is a type of Nexus.  Even though she risks the same punishment as Nevil, she refuses to stop her investigation.  The opportunity to increase a wizard’s power is too close.

    Then Sanglier sends the wyre pack to kill Camisse and Pearroc.

    And Alstera practices the sharing linkage one time too many.

Will they survive the sharp blades on their chosen roads?

Icy mountains hold danger and death.

The wizard Alstera continues her quest to restore access to her bound powers.  A nightmare of foul sorcery gives her an opportunity.  She tracks the evil to a snow-smothered village deep in the mountains.

A vengeful woman wielded spells based in sorcery.  To fulfill her revenge, she re-animated a corpse, turning the dead man into a death-walker.

When Alstera and her friend Raul arrive, the suspicious villagers don’t trust them.  Too many have died mysteriously, victims to a monster that don’t dare name.

Alstera is shocked when she discovers the sorcery  re-animated a corpse.  Walking Death drinks blood to retain a semblance of life.

But to fight the death-walker, she must once more rely on primitive and forbidden blood-magic.

With her powers bound, she had to use blood-magic in Vaermonde (Dream a Deadly Dream).  She wanted to avoid another use.  She wanted an easy battle against sorcery.

Yet this battle isn’t easy.  She can’t find the sorcerer.  She can’t find the death-walker.  And a wizard from the Enclave is in close pursuit.

She knows the Enclave wizard comes to discover if she is keeping the wizard tenets

or if she is crossing the tenuous barrier that separates wizardry from sorcery.  Every time she uses blood-magic is a mark against her.

If he returns her to the Enclave, the wizard council will strip away all her powers.

Then Walking Death claims his re-animator as a victim.

With only a small portion of her powers freed, not enough against the death-walker, can Alstera wield blood-magic to defeat a blood-spelled monster?

Remi Black’s Sing a Graveyard Song is available now, exclusively on Amazon.

 

Deadline on a Dream

Dream the Plan / Plan the Dream

Three years ago, when I made the decision to Think like a Pro, the approaching deadline for one of life’s major transitions drove me to consider it.

Life’s transitions include job changes, marriage or divorce, moving, children, taking on the fulltime care of a parent, and retirement.  Making a commitment to live a worthy life, changing diets to gluten-free or vegan, deciding to avoid all plastics, turning a dream into reality:  these are also life transitions. 

Often, very often, these last three are the hardest changes.  They require a re-commitment every day, every minute, every second.  They are individual changes, perhaps prompted by family and friends but dependent on the sole self to maintain the commitment.  And they require re-thinking constant aspects of life that most people never even consider.

Deadline: Junction on the Journey

Transitions are like junctions in our life’s journey.

The question we ask ourselves is this~ Where do I want to go when I reach that junction?

Continue reading “Think like a Pro: Deadline on a Dream”