The Great Divide (Changers 2) is under way as I type this. (Well, not as I type this because I’m typing this rather than working on Changers 2, but . . . Yeah. Let’s just say I’ve been working on it.) Here’s a taste:

Guin felt as though a net were closing around her. One she couldn’t see or fight. She stood there, opening and closing her fists while her mind reeled. Go back to the Vulpes? No, couldn’t put them in danger again. Go after Marcus and Cee? Maybe…

Warm hands closed around Guin’s own and drew them gently together, startling her out of her racing thoughts. She lifted her head to meet Rand’s dark, compassionate gaze.

“It’s going to be okay,” he said.

“You don’t know that,” Guin said. The words felt too big for her throat, but she managed to squeeze them out. “You can’t promise that.”

InsecureWritersSupportGroup It’s time again for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. Read and support writers by clicking here, and if you’re a writer you can also join!

Writer’s block is what has me insecure this month. I simply can’t seem to make headway with the Changers sequel, and that’s causing a certain amount of anxiety in me. I’ve got a little over 20k words written, and now I’m well and truly stuck. I’ve tried just writing through it, but no. I’ve outlined, so I know where I need to go, I just feel like a wagon with its wheels in the mud. I’ve considered skipping the chapter I’m on and writing the rest, but I can’t work that way—I’m a linear writer. I’ve dabbled with other projects on the side, but I know this book needs to get finished, and that’s probably making things that much worse. *headdesk* Anyone else want to write this book for me?

Question of the Month: Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

Uh, I’ve pulled out some old stuff now and then and looked at it. I’ve even thought, I should do something with this. And then I never do. I don’t know why. In particular, I would like to rework my Master’s thesis, which was a middle grade historical fantasy. It’s on my list of project, but I don’t know if or when I’ll ever actually be ready to tackle it.

From my current Regency romance WIP Faebourne:

“Do you live here all the time?” Edward asked.

Duncan shook his head. “Only when the servants get bored.”

Richard cocked his head, and his gray eyes gleamed with bright interest. “You would not choose London over the country?”

Duncan sat back and sighed. “I don’t know,” he said after a minute’s rumination. “I’ve never had to choose.”

“But if you did? Have to choose, that is?” Edward asked.

Duncan considered. “Dove Hill is where I grew up. And it is roomier. I think… Yes, I would say I am more attached to it than here.”

“You would choose the country,” said Richard.

Duncan nodded. “Yes, I daresay I would.”

Upon later reflection, it seemed to Duncan that Richard and Edward exchanged a meaningful look when he spoke those words. But hindsight is always clearer, as they say, particularly after one has been kidnapped.

The beginning of a new Regency romance titled Faebourne:

Duncan Oliver was in every respect an unremarkable gentleman. He was not tall, though also not any shorter than would be deemed respectable. He was not rich, though again not particularly in want. And though he rode well, he was not especially keen on sports or gaming. To summarize, Duncan Oliver was the kind of man easily overlooked by the world. To this he had become accustomed and resigned.

And so the day someone finally did notice him became the day his life changed.

This one is Regency with a touch of magic.

So the biggest complaint about my Sherlock Holmes story “The Mystery of the Last Line” is that it has an ambiguous ending. I wrote the story in 1999 as part of my application to grad school (and yes, I was accepted). At the time, I sort of meant the reader to infer a lot of things. But I guess perhaps, despite my goal, I was not clear enough. So, with that in mind, I’ve started a direct sequel to “Last Line.” Here’s a wee bit of it:

It was some weeks after our return from exile at Holmesweald before I was able to take steps toward learning more about the various situations that conspired to make Sherlock Holmes the man he would become . . .

After suffering the illness that came with withdrawal from his reliance on cocaine, he rebounded to his energetic self, immersing himself in every little case and crisis that came his way. I only dreaded the idea there might yet come a day without anything to occupy him. Would he relapse into his former habit?

I resolved not to allow it, but in so doing firmly believed I would need to get to the core of things if I was to stop it from happening. While at Holmesweald I had learned more than Holmes himself would have liked me to know, and I had no desire to make him uncomfortable—or angry. But my concern for him ran deeper than my fear of his reaction. He might condemn me for sentimentality, but that was a small enough price for securing his health and preserving that extraordinary mind.

It was this determination on my part that drove me to act in the manner I will now set forth. I only ask that you, dear readers, remember that my intentions were all for the best. My behavior, in retrospect, was unconscionable but prompted entirely by care for my friend.

The winter break is over and my kids went back to school today. I’d say things are getting back to normal, but they aren’t, really—just before the holidays, my youngest broke his leg. So he has a full-leg cast and is in a wheelchair, has to be carried up and down the stairs and to and from the bathroom (well, he can use his wheelchair in the downstairs bathroom). I’m definitely getting my weightlifting in.

Still, I’ve managed to make progress with my work over the break, partly because we were more housebound than planned. We couldn’t do all the outings we’d originally thought to do, what with one of us in a wheelchair, and then the rain set in and kept us mostly indoors as well. This allowed me to finish rewrites on Brynnde and send ARCs to my brave volunteers. If you’d like to be an advance reader for my books, be sure to sign up for my newsletter there on the sidebar; I offer ARCs when I have new releases.

Now it’s back to The Great Divide (aka Changers 2). Time to get back into the swing . . . I hope you’ve had a productive start to your year as well!

Here we are on the brink of yet another new year. Get the hell out, 2016! It’s been a tough year for a lot of reasons, but I prefer to look on the bright side of things. I accomplished a lot as a writer in 2016. I had two books published by two different small publishers, and I attended my first conference as a guest author/panelist (not my first conference ever, but my first as a participant in the overall program). I also got to enjoy the Writer’s Digest Conference. I was a guest on two podcasts as well, and I met a lot of great new author friends and found a new critique group.

But now I want to look ahead to 2017. What are my writing goals now?

  1. Publish Brynnde
  2. Finish and submit Changers: The Great Divide
  3. Finish Hamlette
  4. Write another Sherlock Holmes story

That may not seem like a lot, but I’m not a fast writer. So this is plenty enough to fill my plate for now. If by some miracle I manage to accomplish all this, I’ll re-evaluate what to do next. But for now this is enough to start.

And I’m really excited that I got a Momentum Planner to help me keep track of my goals this year, too! It will help me break things down into steps so I stay on track.

Do you have goals for the coming year? Career, personal, or both? Tell me about them in the comments! And Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving (if they observed that holiday), and are now having just as lovely a weekend, whether shopping or hiding from the crowds. No need to go out for any of these things I’m about to share with you, though!

  1. Look to the sidebar on the right and you’ll see that there is a Goodreads giveaway going on for Manifesting Destiny. I’m giving away three signed paperback copies, and each will also come with a bookmark and temporary tattoo. Giveaway runs through December 9.
  2. For the holidays, you can now pick up my Sherlock Holmes stories, The K-Pro, and my anthology The World Ends at Five for 99 cents each on Amazon! If you like supporting indie businesses, please consider also supporting indie authors!
  3. I discuss literary fiction on Jay Lemming’s site today. I consider The Fall and Rise of Peter Stoller to be literary because of the way it’s written. What do you think? How do you define literary fiction, and is it a dying genre or merely exclusive (and exclusionary)? Swing by to see what I have to say about it!

That’s all the news that is news for the moment. I’m closing in on finishing Brynnde, too. Can’t wait to present her to you!

Happy Holiday Season!

Just a tiny, tiny bit from The Great Divide (Changers Book 2):

Annice tried to dig in her heels. She felt the wind of the eagle’s strong wings, heard them beating above her. “Stop!” she said again.

Too late. Annice hit the sill of the open window and fell backward into nothing.

October is half over. We’re flying toward the end of the year. It seems like a good time to look at my goals.

I’ve accomplished most of them (achieved goals are in green). I’ve struck out #3 because circumstances beyond my control have made it untenable. Sometimes you just have to let go. I don’t think it will never happen, but I don’t know when we’ll manage to get back to it, and I’m not going to stress myself out over it. I’ve got plenty else to keep me busy.

That said, I don’t think I’ll be finishing Brynnde this year either. With so little left of the year, and the holidays besides, I can’t do all the writing. And I really do need to focus on The Great Divide. I’d like to get it to my publisher early next year.

1. Finish the revision of Changers.
2. Find an agent or publisher for Changers.
3. With my co-writer, finish the Hard Reset script. Finish and publish Brynnde.
4. Write and release at least one more Sherlock Holmes story.
5. Attend at least one writing conference and/or do at least one reading or signing.
6. Find a home for “Aptera.”
7. Finish the draft of Changers: The Great Divide.

But look—even though a yearly review is premature—I’ve had a pretty banging year. Two books published, plus one short story. Two writing conferences, at one of which I sat on panels and had an author table. Met fabulous people at both.

And looking ahead to 2017, I will definitely have Brynnde on my goals list, as well as seeing The Great Divide published. As I mentioned in a previous post about success and goals, I want to get to the point where I’m selling two books a day on a steady basis. That probably means writing more Sherlock Holmes, too, since those continue to be my best sellers.

I need to prioritize my projects. Can you help? The Great Divide and Brynnde are #1 and #2 but from there it’s a toss up. Give me your input, please! Which of these would you be most excited to see?

A. Another Sherlock Holmes story
B. The rest of Hamlette
C. A K-Pro sequel
D. A Peter sequel (featuring Simeon as the central character this time)
E. None of these/something else entirely

Thanks for your help! Here’s to a productive end of 2016 and exciting 2017!