TOATM Update – First Draft Complete

I wrote the last lines of THE OAK AND THE MOON last night just before midnight. Fifty-five chapters, one epilogue, and 160,627 words. This first draft is the longest one yet. I start my edits immediately–or, I should say, I resume my edits. I’ve already edited the first 128,463 words. They’re ready for my editor. The remaining 32,164 should be a breeze due to the care I took with the initial writing.

For the past couple weeks I’ve been sifting through five and a half years’ worth of notes. Most were used. Some were discarded. Others were saved for books 4 and 5.

And you won’t believe this: only ONE F-bomb. Hard to believe, I know. But you’ll understand why when you read it. You’ll also understand why this book is so long. More on that later. :)

First Draft: Complete! (160,627 words)
My revisions: In progress (79% complete)
Professional editing: Starts mid-July
Final Draft: Not started
Formatting: Not started
Proofreading: Not started
Cover art: Not started


TOATM Update – April 26

First draft of THE OAK AND THE MOON is sooo close to being finished. I’m thinking three more chapters will do it, maybe four. I won’t waste time blabbing about it when I could be finishing it, so here’s a quick status. Now I’m off to write the end of this thing.

First Draft: In progress (151,178 words and counting)
My revisions: In progress
Professional editing: Starts mid-July
Final Draft: Not started
Proofreading: Not started
Formatting: Not started
Cover art: Not started

The Bad, the Good, and the Extra Good

The bad: copy editing for THE OAK AND THE MOON won’t begin until mid-July. It can’t be helped. Editors are busy. The good: I have two extra months to make this book Extra Good. That’s capitalized because Extra Goodness is an actual specific thing, something TOATM will now have, something it may not have had before.

My new subterranean writing cove is finished. All my writing paraphernalia now has its very own home. I’m no longer shuffling laptop/books/papers/notebooks/cat from bedroom to living room depending on my writing site for the evening. Now, all I have to do is descend the stairs, pick up my laptop, and drop into my new super comfy chair. (Really, if someone told me they made this chair with a mold of my own body, I’d believe them.) Papers and notebooks are within reach. Power on laptop, wait for cat to squeeze his body next to mine, WRITE. I feel very grown up.IMG_2149_sm

So, TOATM’s release will be late summer/fall. I’m a one-book-a-year writer. I tried to fight it. I lost. But–I promise this book will be better because of it. I wish I could give some hints about this book because OH HOW IT’S KILLING ME NOT TO SPILL. Any hints would be spoilers, and I hate spoilers. So no hints. It might end up being a surprise, an “Oh, wait a second” then a “WAIT ONE DARN SECOND” then a “Oh” then an “Ooooh” surprise. Don’t worry though. You’ll love it. If you don’t, I’ll send TB to convince you to love it. If he’s in a good mood he might let you choose which hand, but fingers will be broken.

First Draft: In progress (138,266 words and counting)
My revisions: In progress
Professional editing: Starts mid-July
Final Draft: Almost there…
Proofreading: Not started
Formatting: Not started
Cover art: Not started

TOATM Update – March 4

Lots of recent progress. The end is near. Being home during the day with a sick child allows some editing by hand with the child vegged on the couch with back-to-back DVDs of SpongeBob. After one full DVD I thought it would be wise to take a break from all the Krabby Patty drama. Bevan/Moore drama is a nice change of pace.


First Draft: In progress (131,973 words and counting)
My revisions: In progress
Professional editing: Not started
Final Draft: Getting there slowly…
Proofreading: Not started
Formatting: Not started
Cover art: Not started

TOATM Update – February 15

IMG_9373Fifteen degrees Fahrenheit last night with 20 mph gusts of wind. Here’s where I was, working on THE OAK AND THE MOON.

It was more of a wrap-my-head-around-it session than a get-words-on-the-page session, but I got back in the forward motion of it right before I started nodding off. It should be easy to pick back up tonight and get a lot down on the page.

I bought myself a present yesterday. Sometimes you’ve just gotta splurge on the hardback.


First Draft: In progress (125,282 words and counting)
My revisions: In progress
Professional editing: Not started
Final Draft: Getting there slowly…
Proofreading: Not started
Formatting: Not started
Cover art: Not started

1744 More Words, Barefoot

All day Monday was spent writing—in pink fuzzy socks, not barefoot like the title suggests—and I’m 1,744 words closer to the end. Not a big number for an entire day of work, but I’ll take it. I’m finally past a scene I was dreading and I’m proud to say I DID NOT CRY while writing it. Nope, I didn’t. NOPE! MY EYES DID NOT DAMPEN ANY MORE THAN USUAL EVERYDAY DAMPNESS AND THAT IS MY FINAL WORD.

I’ve started the read-aloud edit phase from page one during my weekday commute, so I’m both writing the end and editing the beginning now which is a great use of time but also kind of scrambling my brains. A once-a-week night off from books helps, especially when I’m lucky to see yet another great movie…
My husband briefed me on Barefoot, and at first I said, “Sounds really Manic Pixie Dream Girl tropey. Pass.” But as he scrolled past it online, I caught the words “bad boy” and I was like, “Wait, bad boy? Okay, sold.” LOL

Usually the MPDG trope is used alongside a geeky, stuffy, downer of a hero, with the MPDG heroine’s one and only dimension being used to teach the hero how to lighten up and live again. A “Wish Fulfillment from stir-crazy writers” as the article says. Add a bad boy though, and it changes the formula. (And who can turn down a bad boy hero? I mean really.) Barefoot might have contained hints of the MPDG trope, but the heroine was fleshed out enough to make it mostly disappear. The reasons for her MPDG qualities made sense to *her* story, so she became a real character to root for and not just a stand-in for a trope or a convenient motivator for the hero. Reviewers say it’s a knock-off of Tangled (another slight MPDG done well enough to avoid being tropey, in my opinion). I see that now, but I didn’t while watching it.

Another well-written, believable love story. Sweet but not cheesy, unpredictable enough to keep my interest. Good writing, good acting, good everything. Maybe not as good as In Your Eyes, but good enough to recommend.

TOATM Update – January 18

The muse has turned rabid. Did it hear me say this book was taking its sweet time and want to make me a liar? Sure looks like it.

Ideas, scenes, imagery, dialogue coming too fast now to keep up. I made a rough list, Stuff That Needs To Happen Before The End, and I don’t know if the simple act of trying to work off a list has angered or pleased the muse. I’m now being pummeled with totally unforeseen, unplanned scenes that are NOT ON THE LIST.

“Oh, those are the things you need to write?” says the muse, looking over my list. “Well, how about these twelve new things, too? And oh–one more. Oh, and this!”

So, like a good writer, I write them, thinking surely most of it will be cut in the editing phase. Surely this book won’t be 250,000 words. Then I read this stuff back the next day, and I see one thing ties to that thing that happened back in chapter 7 so it can’t be cut, and this other new thing shows a growth between this character and that character and it’s too poignant to cut.

Two more chapters ahead and nothing crossed off the list. It’s already the length of a good-sized novel and I’m nowhere near finished.

First Draft: In progress (116,222 words and counting)
My revisions: In progress
Professional editing: Not started
Final Draft: Getting there slowly…
Proofreading: Not started
Formatting: Not started
Cover art: Not started

TOATM Update – January 5

I wish I could report some hardcore progress on THE OAK AND THE MOON, but this book has its own pace, officially termed Taking Its Sweet Time. I hit chapter 38, which doesn’t mean much at this point because I don’t know how many more chapters it will take to get to the end of this thing. At least ten more. Twenty?

Christmas and New Year’s shamelessly gobbled most of my writing time, but with all that fun behind me I plan to buckle down and get some words on the page. I think I said this book should be in my editor’s hands in February? Well…hmm. About that…

Also to blame for stealing time from writing is our basement semi-finish we started weeks ago. We partitioned off part of our basement, stained the floor, painted the walls and ceiling, and now furniture and TV are here. Coming soon is a new chair and table for my new writing nook in the opposite corner, which should give me a better space to write. I’ll no longer be juggling my laptop, handwritten notes, Moore Family Tree (yes, book 3 is that complicated), and boat anchor Irish-English dictionary in my little bedroom armchair with no nearby table space. And the cat who’s determined to sit on top of my arm while this juggling is taking place.

End of the year leisure time didn’t allow much time for reading. I’m still working through BEL CANTO, which is excellent but a bit of a slow burn.

I did see two squeal-worthy movies:

In Your Eyesin_your_eyes

One of my new favorite movies of all time. Fans of my books will love this one. It’s a love story with a touch of the supernatural, pulled off expertly in every way.

It’s honest and charming and so human, it’s easy to forget the supernatural aspect of it. The simplicity of the story brings out the depth of character, and by the time the climax hits you’ll be yelling at your screen, rooting for these people. I love it when a movie can be romantic and sensual without being graphic, and can find a way to show the friendship that’s entangled in the deepest love.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)
You *might* need to be a preexisting fan to squeal over this one. (Although some fans might be peeved over the changes to the TMNT mythology.) But I think I said “OMG YES!” about 500 times while watching it.

I have my criticisms of it but it’s all forgiven due to the fact that it’s TMNT and twenty-five years have not faded my fangirl crush on Raphael. (Okay, maybe shouldn’t admit that.) Nonstop disbelief-suspending action and the most unbeatable-looking villain EVER. Seriously. Shredder is so over the top you just have to go with it.

TOATM Update – November 21

Last night I hit page 248 in my edit of the already written 370 pages (up from 366) of THE OAK AND THE MOON.

This is the cleanest draft I’ve written. It won’t need the two hundred revisions book one needed, thank the elements. The first half of this TOATM draft was rough because I had to apply a major change (verb tenses…*shudder*), but now I’m past that nightmare so progress is moving fast.

Once I reach page 370 the fun begins: writing new material. I’ve been thinking it’ll need about 100 more manuscript pages, but now I’m thinking it needs more like 200 (which translates to about 300 in paperback form). Eek.

Who’s ready to read a 700-page book? Anyone? *tap-tap-tap* Is this on?


Hopefully my editor and I can do a LOT of cutting…

I might take tonight off from writing. 22 Jump Street is sitting in its Netflix envelope on my kitchen counter. *cough* Channing Tatum *cough*

Translations: THE TWO

For anyone curious about the translations of the Irish dialogue in THE TWO, keep reading. If THE TWO (or THE ALIGNMENT) is on your TBR, you might want to stop here to avoid spoilers.

Here’s a photo of autumn in Missouri as a protective buffer.

Content warning: explicit language


Translation of Irish dialogue from THE TWO

Imeacht gan teacht ort.
Go and never return. (This is a harsh insult, comparable to “Fuck off” in English. There’s an element of wishing the person dead in it.)

Tá mé i ngrá leat.
I am in love with you.

Cén t-am é?
What time is it?

Tá sé deich nóiméad tar éis a seacht.
It is ten minutes after seven.

Ceangailte go brách
Eternally bound

Bailigh as
Fuck off

Mo ghrá thú.
I love you. (Literal translation: You are my love.)


Diúl mo bhod.
Suck my cock. (This is used as an insult in the book. I’m not sure if it’s always an insult when said this way, so be careful. LOL)

Tá tú go hálainn.
You are beautiful.

Is mian liom thú.
I want you.

Tá mé ag iarraidh craiceann a bhualadh leat.
I want to have sex with you. (A very impolite way to say it. The literal translation is something like “I want to bang skin with you.”)

Tá grá agam duit.
I love you.

Beidh muid in ann a dhul amú oraibh go héasca ar an mbóthar.
We can easily lose them on the road.

Níl spraoi ar bith ansin.
There is no fun there (in that).

Feicfidh mé ar an mbóthar thú, a dheartháir.
I’ll see you on the road, brother.

A Fhearghuis, a leanbh na páirte,
Bí láidir; ná tarraing céim siar.
Is treascairt na tragóide é an crann greamaithe.
Tá grá agam duit,

Fearghus, my dear child,
Be strong; do not retreat.
A destiny embraced is a tragedy overcome.
I love you,
(His name changes from Fearghus to Fhearghuis when someone is addressing him in Irish. Weird, I know. And awesome.)

A chroí
My dear

Mo bheannacht ar do leanbh.
My blessing on your child.