Clearing the Decks for Summer

It’s a brief update for summer!

Since the first of this year and especially in April and May, I’ve fought battles against distractions and disruptions. I haven’t lost the war. I will win through persistence and determination.

Writer Dean Wesley Smith calls summer the “time of great forgetting” for writers. I find summer is productive ~ as long as I avoid those pesky battles with the casualties of time and creativity.

Summer began with the Great ReSet.

I recast the writing schedule and changed things around in my writing nest. Moving furniture helped. Emptying out things I’ve hoarded for no reason cleared my head. Keeping my desk uncluttered certainly keeps me from avoiding my writing time.

Therefore, I have news. Storm of Spells is coming soon. I won’t give a day or a week or a month for this second novella in the Spells of Water trilogy, just that the ideas and words are definitely flooding out.

Cover images by Derange Doctor Design

If you missed the first novella in Spells of Water, here it is.

Torrent of Evil

Death. That was the omen that the crows and ravens brought to Inkeri.

Deep in the desert Idros Ahdreide, men had lost their lives in battle against a strange evil. A half-Fae wielder, Inkeri ventures to investigate.

Rhodren, baron of the Bois Argent, is commanded by his king to investigate the disappearance of a troop and a caravan, lost at the abandoned citadel of the Archais, deep in the Ahdreide. Yet when he and his men reach the border, a flock of crows and ravens attack.

Surviving that attack, Rhodren and his men are then confronted by slavering panthers. Inkeri comes to their aid.

The Ahdreide has predators aplenty, all willing to feast on the wariest of travelers. What enemy marshals these dangers? What evil lurks at the Archais?

Will a wielder of elemental Water and mortal men discover the truth without become prey for the desert predators?

Watch for Storm of Spells, with Inkeri and Rhodren at the Archais, facing the evil that has feasted on a troop and a caravan and has a thirst for more.

The next newsletter will be in October. The best up-to-date information is always available at or .

Until then ~ happy reading!

Snail Speed in Summer

Hi all! It’s Summertime. Is your living easy?

My summer living is better than this past spring when I had a lingering sickness for a solid month which continued as the doldrums until mid-May.

Needless to say, my writing schedule exploded and rained the fragments upon me.

publications to announce for Summer

Even with all of the problems, the ideas never stopped, just the time and energy for the writing of those ideas. Here’s what has developed —

Sailing with Mystery ~ a short story collection that follows artist Isabella Newcombe Tarrant on her ocean voyage from England. She sails on a passenger ship to join her husband Madoc in India.

Four of the five stories are currently available in e-book.

“Amber Dreams” ~ Blackmail threatens a young bride. Can Isabella recover a stolen diary before the bride loses all hope?

“Purple Poison” ~ Poison pen letters filled with vicious invective attack the passengers on the ship Nomadic. Will Isabella discover the culprit before tragedy occurs?

“Black Heart” ~ A trickster targets the passengers aboard ship. When one prank causes injury, can Isabella locate the trickster before the next mishap turns deadly?

“Silver Web” ~ Accusations fly when passengers discover a jewel thief at work. When the thief dies, proof of theft in his hand, will Isabella locate his accomplice and the missing jewelry before they reach the next port?

Here are links to the first story.

Worldwide Distribution:



The fifth and final story for Summer is “Red Mask”.

Isabella receives a disturbing letter—only for it to be stolen before she deciphers it. The letter claims that a spy is aboard, but is that the only person hiding their true identity on the passenger ship?

. ~. ~ . ~ .

Sailing with Mystery, the collection, will publish very soon after the final short story. The ebook will be up very quickly, with the paperback and the audiobook in the following weeks.


After Summer Fun, Autumn Mystery

These short stories injected themselves, wholly unexpectedly, into my writing schedule. I thought I waved goodbye to Isabella when I published Portrait with Death. Imagine my surprise when she demanded this ocean voyage while my writing brain was telling me to write something else.

That something else is the next novella in the series Miss Beale Writes: a Touch of Mystery, a Touch of Gothic, a Touch of Romance.

The Bride in Ghostly White is a Victorian gothic, and I can’t wait to see this mystery develop.

The Bride will pair with The Dark Lord, which came out in Winter 2022.

Following in the Miss Beale Writes series are medieval / renaissance and cavalier / Georgian novella.

All of these stories will definitely keep me busy.

And that’s a good thing!


Visit the Writers’ Ink website ~ or for updates about the publication of “Red Mask” and Sailing with Mystery.

Survive the Heat!

M.A. Lee

Summer with The Write Focus

How’s Summer with you?

At The Write Focus, we are wincing whenever we step outdoors. After a wettish June with moderate temperatures, July brought the sudden onslaught of high temperatures and dry days. That means fine mornings in the shade until the sun and steam of summer drives us inside.

The best way to beat the summer’s heat is with distractions. The best distractions give us an incentive to achieve more and more. How do we achieve more and more? We set and pursue our writing goals: Write More, Learn More.

Write More this Summer

The Write Focus featured the June Writing Challenge. Host M.A. Lee set a goal of 1,000 words per day, starting on the 1st and continuing to the 30th.

In addition to the weekly check-in for the Challenge, each of June’s Wednesday episodes offered information about writing.

1st, the Stages of Writing, original idea to proof-plus & publish.

2nd, the age-old writer question of Plotter / Pantster / Puzzler and the 7 Steps of a Perfect Scene.

3rd, Writers and their Ideas

4th, Vaccine against the Writing Doldrums and commentary on an excerpt from Phyllis A. Whitney’s Guide to Fiction Writing.

The final Writing Challenge Check-in occurred at the first of the July 5 episode.

You can replay this challenge anytime, to receive ideas for your own craft and productivity.

Learn More this Summer

All through July and August is a series on Branding: the Way Writers Reach Readers. We talk brand creation for a book, a series, and a writer’s business.

Successful examples from previous bestselling series and authors focus on Ellis Peters’ Cadfael series, Tony Hillerman’s Leaphorn & Chee Navajo mysteries, and Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody series.

We capture browsing readers with 3 Glances and 6 Keys, all to develop the best cover, titles and taglines, and market copy (blurbs) for our books.

The series closes out with developing a short video script. The advertising world tells us that buyers need 7 sights of a product before they commit. Short videos are an active and interesting method to snag the readers’ attention for a couple of those “sights”.

Coming at Summer’s End

September starts a series on story structure: Plot ~ the foundation for every story.

Start with character, the writing gurus say [which we did, last January 🙂 and Discovering Characters concluded in May]. The gurus are right about writing. Now we the best plot structure for our characters. To improve story craft and flow / pacing, we must focus on Discovering Plot.

Autumn’s Coming

Our next newsletter update will be in October.

Don’t sweat the Summer heat and humidity too much!

As always, thanks for listening to The Write Focus. We focus on productivity, process, craft, and tools. Our podcast is for newbies who want to become writing pros and veterans who are returning to writing after years away.

For more links and resources, visit  .

Listen on your favorite podcast site: from Apple to YouTube, Spotify and Podbean (my favs), Google Play, Amazon Music / Audible, Samsung and Player FM, Podcaster, the rivals iHeart and Tune-in, and too many to list.

Here are links to the easiest:

My favorite podcast is Podbean.

YouTube direct link to the Mixed Miscellany playlist: