Happy writing update

The sun will return, the Christian savior’s birthday is imminent, the harvest is in, and the new year is right around the corner.  I’m going to celebrate all that goodness with a post full of happy authoring news.

The biggest happy is a month old now, but it keeps getting better: Heartwood is no longer a draft in progress, it is finished. The ending passed Beloved Alpha Reader’s stringent quality assurance testing with two thumbs up and multiple sniffles. Huzzah!

How can it get better than that? Well. I’ve sent manuscripts to beta readers and already have some copies back, all beautifully marked up with suggestions for revisions, clarifications, and expansion. No one has spotted any huge gaffes or a need for major rewrites, so I’m still on schedule to start revisions come the new year.

That’s huge relief, since the last novel I finished (Prodigals) needed a major strip-and-rebuild. It still needs one, technically speaking, since I am not ready to tackle that project. I have identified the root problem and have some potential solutions simmering int eh back of my mind. I will do the re-write someday. Possibly after my current post-Heartwood project is done and in edits.

What current project is that? So glad you asked.  It’s a “cozy mystery meets family ghost story” novel, and it makes me very happy.

Deena Davis, newly-appointed police chief of a tiny Southern Illinois river town, solves crimes with the spectral assistance of her great-great-greatish grandfather, who was the mayor there while he was alive.

Deena is an ex-Army MP, an ex-Chicago police detective and current owner of a retired military dog named Bazel who hates phones and loves bacon.  Fletcher Davis is everything a mid-nineteenth century river town mayor should be. They are all tremendous fun to write.

So. Color me happy. I’m diving deep into this project while Heartwood rests before revision. It’s fully outlined (a new thing for me, very strange) and I’m well into writing the first chapter now.  My goal is to have build enough momentum to keep it moving forward while I start revising Heartwood too. So far, so good.

Heartwood will be ready to go into edits in February and slide onto a production schedule at the end of April.  I’m committed to that.  Stretch goal: have this new manuscript done by the end of April too.

I have writing-adjacent happy news too. Last year I agreed to help a friend prep her many amazing children’s books for print publication. A long, frustrating saga of false starts and dead ends ensued. I am most happy to announce that one book is nearly ready to proof, and more are in the hands of talented designers.  It’s getting exciting in a happy way.

Bottom line: yes, Virginia, there will be a new book in 2018. Maybe lots of them.

 

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