Four Q&As about my WIP

Janna G. Noelle has requested I participate in her four-question quiz about my current work-in-progress, THE TWO, which will be published in a couple months. Like most of her blog, these questions require a degree of thought my poor brain might not be suited for right now after being abused by revisions for the past few months. But it’s worth a shot. Let’s hope what comes isn’t pure gibberish, or words crossed out and replaced by synonyms then crossed out and replaced by another synonym then crossed out and replaced by the original word. What? Yeah. Exactly.

1. What are you currently working on?

THE TWO, the second book in The Alignment Series. I wrote the first draft in 2009 and it’s had little attention since then. I knew it would be rough going in, but it’s proven me wrong. It’s not rough. It’s downright terrifying. Come-out-of-the-mirror-Carol-Anne terrifying. Someone please get me out of this mirror.

2. How does your work differ from others in its genre?

Well, for a fantasy, it’s very real. Approachable. Easy to digest. I think a lot of people stay away from fantasy because the entry into the world is jarring. Too many strange names, strange places…you won’t find anyone with an unpronounceable name in my books. Sometimes I think it falls closer to magical realism for this reason. And for a romance? It doesn’t follow the formula. I usually call it a love story to save my fragile human bones from sledgehammers wielded by hardcore romance readers. There’s no sugary sweet happily ever after here. Strap yourselves in, people. There are twists in this road and lots of bodies to roll over. And be sure to duck when the gunner takes aim.

3. Why do you write what you do?

I have no idea. It’s like taking in a stray animal. I didn’t choose this book. It chose me. And then it had kittens under my porch. (This happened to me with real kittens, too. Real kittens and metaphorical kittens seem to agree that my brain and my house are nice places to live.)

4. How does your writing process work?

I’m a pantser who has a hard time keeping up with the seat of her pants. So I take a lot of notes. Pages and pages of notes in files I review periodically to refresh them in my head. I email myself things when I can’t get to my manuscript. Lines of dialogue, scenes, ideas, anything. It’s all clear in my head but very unorganized outside of it. That dichotomy has me feeling a bit crazy sometimes. A bit unglued.


Many thanks to Janna, for prompting me to do this Q&A. Every time I do something like this I learn more about my books. She’s working on her own fantasy(ish) novel, set in 13th century England. You can read her Q&A here. I wish she’d hurry up and publish. I feel like I’ve been waiting for it since the Middle Ages.

On My Birthday

I had the day off work. My three-year-old let me sleep past nine. We didn’t get dressed ’til 10:30. We watched almost an entire season of Adventure Time then wrestled on the floor. He did a cannonball off the couch, straight onto my shin. Tomorrow, I’ll have the bruise to prove it.

After picking my kindergartner up from school, we sat outside on the patio under billowing cumulonimbus and ate barbecue chips and drank lemonade. A hawk circled above. I told my son it wanted to eat his brain.

“Mom, would you be sad if it ate my brain?”

“What do you think?”

“I think yes.”

“Would you be sad if it ate my brain?”

Big smile. “Yes.”

Oh, the love between mother and child.

At some point, I got a call on our land line, from THE LAND LINE’S OWN NUMBER. No one on the other end. Thank god for that.

Because I was afraid it was going to be my future self, telling me I have a lot of editing to do. And it’s sitting on the kitchen table, waiting for me, and I shouldn’t be watching so much Adventure Time.
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I knew book two would need a ton of editing but I wasn’t prepared for the depth of hell I’ve descended to. I’ve switched to editing hard copy by hand, if that’s any indication. I can’t estimate my progress at this point. I can’t even see an end ahead.

I’m still aiming for summer publication, but it’s going to be late summer. To those of you waiting, yeah, I feel rotten this is taking so long. But be VERY GLAD for my red pen. I wouldn’t wish this draft on my worst enemy.

Oh, and I got a great review today. Thank you, Morgan.

I couldn’t have planned a better birthday.

Tonight, I edit until the witching hour.

Book Two Progress as of May 5

First the good news: I think the editing process for this book is only going to consist of three rounds. In an earlier post I’d guessed five. The first half of round 2 is complete, so we’re halfway there.

The bad news is this round will take the longest. I have a bunch of line edits from my editor to approve. It’s also when I read the entire book aloud to catch all the things that jump out when only read aloud. It’s time-consuming (and a bit nerve-racking to read my work out loud), but I make good progress every day. It’s not like my early revisions where I can spend three hours revising one sentence.

Progress of THE TWO
First Draft: Complete (129,282 words)
My revisions: Complete
Professional editing: Currently in 2nd Half of Round 2
Formatting: Not started
Cover art: Photography for cover art in progress

Book Two Progress as of April 9

Someone on Pinterest said THE ALIGNMENT is “truly a great book, and an even better love story.” I don’t use Pinterest, but thank you, person on Pinterest. :)

Editing progress for THE TWO: We’re working on big picture items right now, so I can’t really give a percentage of completion. As of today, my editor has taken a turn and I’ve taken a turn. Now it’s back with my editor again. Let’s call this Round 1. Of how many rounds total? I’m guessing 5. But don’t hold me to it.

I think we can consider cover art to be started, too. A couple weekends ago I dropped some props off with my photographer, Keith Lee. We examined the props and discussed my vision at a table in a packed Jimmy John’s and I’m pretty sure the other customers thought we were larpers. And no, I’m not telling you what those props are. Sorry. Keith is experimenting with different setups and lighting as we speak. He’s a bit of a photography god. I can’t wait to see what he does.

Progress of THE TWO
First Draft: Complete (129,282 words)
My revisions: Complete
Professional editing: Round 1 Complete
Formatting: Not started
Cover art: Photographer at work (shooting props)

Draft of THE TWO Finished, Off to Editor

After a vacation day from work which had my butt in a chair writing from 8:00 AM until 4:42 PM (only stopping to do one load of laundry and eat an apple and a microwave burrito) this draft of THE TWO is finished. I’m not sure which draft it is—somewhere between 5 and 10,000. I lost count along the way.

It’s in my editor’s inbox now. Yes, that inhuman squealing you hear just possibly could be me.

The word count has changed, so I’ll update that in the status.

The editing stage is a multi-step process. My editor will go through the whole thing, then I’ll get it back and do another revision based on her edits, then she goes through it again, etc. I’ll try to keep the status updated with which step we’re in.

Progress of THE TWO
First Draft: Complete (129,282 words)
My revisions: Complete!
Professional editing: Starting soon (less than a week)
Formatting: Not started
Cover art: Not started

EDIT: And I almost forgot! THE ALIGNMENT is today’s Book of the Day on Indie Author News!

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Author Interview on Indie Author Land

Head over to Indie Author Land for my author interview that went live today.

Indie-Author-LandAnd while you’re there, be sure to check out their other interviews and the page of free and discounted books. You might find something you like!

Now here’s an update on book two for the mob outside my house carrying torches and chanting something about book one? And cliffhangers? And something involving a pair of pliers and my fingernails?

Sunday night I started working at 9:30 PM and worked for four hours straight. When I checked the clock at midnight, I decided I needed to wrap it up (my alarm clock goes off at an agonizing 5:55 AM). I took a “few” minutes “wrapping it up” that ended up being a full hour and a half. (What?! LOL)

But! The great news is I got 25 pages farther! All worth it! :)

I was able to do a bit more since then, bringing my book two progress to…

Progress of THE TWO
First Draft: Complete (126,180 words)
My revisions: In progress (33.8% complete)
Professional editing: Not started
Formatting: Not started
Cover art: Not started

Book Two Progress as of January 4

Progress of THE TWO
First Draft: Complete (126,180 words)
My revisions: In progress (26% complete)
Professional editing: Not started
Formatting: Not started
Cover art: Not started

It’s still planned for release in the summer of this year.

The free Kindle promotion of THE ALIGNMENT ends today, so if you haven’t grabbed a copy already there’s still time.

THE ALIGNMENT has made it to #15 in the Top 100 Free of the Kindle eBooks > Romance > Fantasy category and #635 Free in Kindle Store. What a thrill!

I plan to do another paperback giveaway on Goodreads soon. Sign up with your email address in the sidebar if you want notification when the Goodreads giveaway begins.

And to all the awesome people who purchased THE ALIGNMENT on Amazon this week, happy reading! I hope you enjoy it!